British Columbia is welcoming additional personnel from Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Ontario to assist B.C. fire crews as hot and dry conditions continue in the province.
A seven-person incident management team from Alberta arrived Friday. Two 20-person crews from Manitoba and five four-person crews from Saskatchewan will arrive Saturday. Approximately 150 firefighters and fire specialists from Ontario will arrive on July 26. Specialists include incident commanders, division supervisors and fire behaviour analysts.
These crews are in addition to the 123 personnel who arrived on Thursday.
Placement of the arriving personnel will be determined based on fire activity and anticipated need. It is important that some firefighting crews are kept on standby in all fire centres in anticipation of additional fires starting. Additional crews will also ensure all firefighting staff receive the required time off, in accordance with safe work standards.
The fire danger rating in British Columbia is currently moderate to high, with pockets in southern portions of the province rated extreme. In the Prince George Fire Centre, which includes the BC Peace Region, an open burning ban is in place. This means there are no campfires allowed.
All deployments are co-ordinated through the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre (CIFFC). Costs of this deployment are being paid by the Ministry of Forests and Range, Wildfire Branch. This year, British Columbia has sent crews to four other jurisdictions. This is the second time this season that British Columbia has asked for crews.
Since April 1, fire crews have responded to more than 1,300 fires across the province, approximately 50 per cent of which have been human-caused. The public reports nearly half of all wildfires in B.C. Please continue to report smoke and flames by calling toll-free 1-800-663-5555 or *5555 on most cellular networks.