OTTAWA, ON. – The federal government has approved a formal request for federal assistance from the Province of British Columbia to support the wildfire response.

On Tuesday, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair and Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan announced more resources would be coming to support federal resources already on the ground.

The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) has been airlifting personnel, supplies and equipment in and out of fire-affected areas of B.C. since early July, as well as supporting evacuation efforts where required.

According to a release, the CAF has already deployed two CH-146 Griffon helicopters and two CH-147 Chinook helicopters to support the wildfire response.

The CAF will send as many as 350 additional personnel to support firefighting and monitoring hot spots of contained fires.

“British Columbians can rest assured that there are strong federal and provincial mechanisms in place to ensure that we work together to protect Canadians from wildfires and other natural disasters,” said Minister Bill Blair.

“On behalf of the Government of Canada, I would like to thank responding partners at all levels of government, particularly the firefighting personnel on the ground and in the air, for their commitment to the safety of all Canadians.”

B.C.’s Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, Mike Farnworth says while the Province is doing everything it can to fight the fires, the federal support is valuable.

“The Province is deploying all available resources to respond to wildfires across the B.C. interior, and we welcome the additional support from the federal government,” said Farnworth.

“Air support from Canadian Forces has already proved invaluable in moving crews and equipment throughout the province and aiding in precautionary evacuations.”

The fire season in British Columbia this year is above the seasonal average, especially in the southern and central regions. The BC Wildfire dashboard shows 299 active fires in the province as of Wednesday, 61 of those in the Prince George Fire Centre.

Across the nation, 4,447 wildfires have burned more than 2 million hectares this fire season, well above the 10-year average of around 3,452 fires and about 1.5 million hectares burned.