By: Korie Marshall
With 162 wildfires still burning throughout the province and many fire crews needing to take mandatory days off, the Wildfire Management Branch was expecting 90 more out-of-province fire personnel to arrive in BC over the weekend.
Sixty sustained-action firefighters and about 30 additional firefighters from Ontario and Alberta were expected to arrive in Prince George to be briefed and then dispatched throughout the province. BC firefighters have been working extremely hard and bringing in crews from other jurisdictions will give them a much-needed break, says a news release from the Branch.
The incoming personnel are highly trained Type 1 fire crews and specialized personnel , requested through the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre, which allows for the sharing of resources between provinces and territories in Canada.
Two dispatchers also arrived in BC from Alaska on August 20. Their assistance was requested through the Northwest Compact, which allows for mutual resource sharing between BC, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Alaska, Yukon, the Northwest Territories, Alberta and Saskatchewan, says the release.
The Branch says there are already more than 1,350 provincial staff, nearly 650 BC contractors, over 360 out-of-province personnel and 75 personnel from Australia who are engaged in fire response efforts. The firefighters could remain in BC for up to 14 days and the cost of bringing them to B.C. will be covered by the Province.
Fire danger rating in the Robson Valley is currently moderate to high, though it is still extreme in some areas of the Prince George Fire Centre. Campfires are currently permitted in the Prince George and Kamloops Fire Centres.
To report a wildfire, call 1 800 663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on your cellphone. For the latest information on current wildfire activity, burning restrictions, road closures and air quality advisories, go to: www.bcwildfire.ca.