Dozens of Vancouver Island firefighters have joined their colleagues in northeastern B.C., fighting desperately to protect communities there from wildfires.
Though they could be away from their homes and families for two weeks, when the call came in Sunday, they dropped everything and jumped in to help.
Three firefighters agreed to go from the Oyster River Fire Department north of the Comox Valley.
“It’s talking with the family and making sure it’s alright with the family,” said Oyster River Fire Chief Bruce Green.
“I know I got one gentleman up there right now, and he’s in school taking courses, so he’s balancing that as well to make it work. There’s a lot of commitment and dedication for the firefighters just to drop at a moment’s notice to go help out, which they are all happy to do.”
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A total of 52 firefighters from the Coastal Fire Centre have been deployed to the Cariboo and Prince George region, and many other departments from Saanich and Lake Cowichan to Cherry Creek and Comox have sent firefighters and, in some cases, firetrucks.
The BC Wildfire Service says there are just shy of 500 firefighters who have responded to help from across B.C., with the number continuing to rise.
“We have lots arriving from the island as well as the gulf islands,” said Hannah Swift, a fire information officer with service.
“We have Galiano as well as Salt Spring, so lots of people arriving by the day and it’s a large-scale ongoing and evolving incident, so we do need all the help we can get,” she added.
“We’re very grateful for all the people who have come out from the island a long way from home all the way up here to support the efforts.”
Multiple wildfires are burning near Fort St. John.
The BC Wildfire Service says it’s an unusually active start to the fire season and that all the additional Vancouver Island firefighters coming to help are welcome.