The B.C. government has asked the federal government to help fight the nearly 600 wildfires burning across the province.
On Monday, B.C. Public Safety Ministers said the wildfires were an urgent situation and the safety of British Columbians is the highest priority.
“Due to the increase in the number of wildfires affecting communities and the extreme wildfire behaviour we are seeing, we’re asking for federal assistance for additional resources that may be needed to protect the public, property and infrastructure,” Farnworth said in a statement.
B.C. is asking for 200 personnel to mop-up and patrol contained wildfires, as well as heavy-lift aircraft to reposition wildfire crews and equipment to new fires that threaten community. The aircraft would also be upsed to resupply existing operations. The province is also asking for aircraft for emergency transport of injured personnel and to help evacuate people in remote areas if evacuation routes are compromised.
Last year, the Canadian Armed Forces helped support the firefighting efforts, including assisting with evacuations.
As of Monday morning, there were 27 evacuation orders affecting approximately 3,100 people and 1,537 properties due to the wildfires. There were also 43 evacuation alerts impacting approximately 17,900 people (8,909) properties. More than 3,400 wildfire personnel are fighting the fires, including BC Wildfire Service crews, contractors, municipal firefighters, industry personnel and out-of-province crews from throughout Canada, as well as Mexico, Australia and New Zealand.
“We’re bringing in the additional resources we need to keep people and communities as safe as possible,” Doug Donaldson, B.C. Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, said in a statement.”
“I thank the federal government and the Canadian Armed Forces for their assistance, and also ask British Columbians to do their part by following burning bans to prevent human-caused fires.”