Firefighting personnel from the United States, Alberta and Ontario are arriving to assist B.C. fire crews with challenging wildfire activity in the Interior of the province.
Two hundred and seven experienced and highly trained firefighters, supervisors and fire specialists will be arriving today. This includes eight sustained action unit crews, 10 fire management specialists and three agency representatives from Alberta and Ontario. Fifteen smoke jumpers from Washington State will also be arriving.
All personnel will be placed in the Cariboo and Prince George Fire Centres, but placement will also be determined based on fire activity and anticipated need. It is important that some firefighting crews be on standby in all fire centres in case new fires start. Additional crews will also make sure all firefighting staff get their required time off in accordance with safe work standards.
These firefighting personnel are in addition to the 250 firefighters and fire specialists that arrived on Sunday, July 31, bringing the total to 457 out-of-province personnel. They will be assisting the more than 1,100 Type 1 and 970 contract and emergency firefighters from B.C. already in the field. Additional assistance may be requested if conditions worsen.
All deployments are co-ordinated through the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre, with the Ministry of Forests and Range's Wildfire Management Branch paying the costs of the deployments. Earlier this year, British Columbia sent crews to four other jurisdictions to help with their firefighting efforts.
The fire danger rating for 80 per cent of British Columbia is high to extreme. Although cooler conditions are anticipated this weekend, forecasters expect a return to warm and dry conditions next week.
Right now, 411 wildfires are burning in the province, 74 of which started over the last three days. Since April 1, crews around the province have responded to 1,272 wildfires, of which 513 have been caused by people. These fires have burned a total of 93,359 hectares, or 933 square kilometres.
For the latest information on fire activity, conditions and prohibitions, visit www.firesafebc.ca
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If you see smoke or flames, please call *5555 on your cellphone or toll-
free to 1 800 663-5555.