B-C officials have met with their federal counterparts to establish a strategy for battling the dozens of wildfires burning in our province.
They’re coordinating the arrival of Canadian forces troops and equipment.
Two companies of soldiers from Edmonton are being deployed immediately to the north-central and north-eastern regions, to be supported by RCAF helicopters.
The number of fires burning in the province has jumped close to 400 (including 167 in the P.G. Fire Centre, 93 in the Northwest and 32 in the Cariboo).
The flames have scorched almost 1.4-million hectares, setting a new record with half the fire season yet to go.
Emergency Preparedness Minister, Bowinn Ma issued the following statement:
“As every British Columbian knows, this fire season has been one of the most challenging and persistent on record. Although we are still early in the fire season, it has already proven to be a difficult time for communities, First Nations, people living in the affected areas and BC Wildfire Service firefighters.
“Our firefighting crews and emergency management personnel have done an incredible job keeping people safe. We know that the road ahead of us is long, complex and challenging. Last week, I made a request to federal Minister Bill Blair for federal assistance to support our response to the wildfires across B.C.
“I am thankful the federal government quickly approved our request and deployed the Canadian Armed Forces and the Canadian Coast Guard to aid in suppressing wildfires. This support is substantial, robust and will give British Columbia the tools and personnel it needs to keep people safe.
“I want to thank the Minister of National Defence Anita Anand and Minister of Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair for partnering with us on this effort.
“The Canadian Armed Forces will be directly involved with fighting fires, and will provide two helicopters and one Hercules aircraft for mobility and logistical tasks, including evacuation of isolated communities, and planning and co-ordination support.
“The Canadian Armed Forces also deployed a reconnaissance team on Sunday, July 16, 2023. This team, currently based in Prince George, is working with the emergency operation centre and the BC Wildfire Service to determine where and how the Canadian Armed Forces can best assist with response operations. Additionally, a Canadian Armed Forces team was deployed to the BC Wildfire Service Provincial Wildfire Coordination Centre in Kamloops.
“Plans are underway to deploy the first company of soldiers from the Canadian Forces Base Edmonton to the Burns Lake area, in the Northwest Fire Centre, and the second to Vanderhoof, at the Prince George Fire Centre.
– with files from Vista Radio newswire