Province requests wildfire assistance from the federal government

Solicitor General Mike Farnworth
Solicitor General Mike Farnworth

VICTORIA – With weeks of fire season remaining, and forecasts for continued hot, dry conditions that carry the risk of further lightning strikes, the provincial government has requested assistance from the federal government for its firefighting efforts.

“This is an urgent situation, and the safety of British Columbians is our highest priority,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, in a news release. “Due to the increase in the number of wildfires affecting communities and the extreme wildfire behaviour we are seeing, we’re asking for federal assistance for additional resources that may be needed to protect the public, property and infrastructure.”

As of the morning of Monday, Aug. 13, there were 27 evacuation orders affecting approximately 3,100 people (1,537 properties), in addition to 43 evacuation alerts impacting approximately 17,900 people (8,909 properties).

More than 3,400 dedicated wildfire personnel are responding to some 600 wildfires currently burning in all areas of the province. This includes BC Wildfire Service crews, contractors, municipal firefighters, industry personnel and out-of-province crews from throughout Canada, as well as Mexico, Australia and New Zealand.

“We’re bringing in the additional resources we need to keep people and communities as safe as possible,” said Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. “I thank the federal government and the Canadian Armed Forces for their assistance, and also ask British Columbians to do their part by following burning bans to prevent human-caused fires.”

The Province of British Columbia is requesting:

* Two hundred self-sufficient personnel to perform the mop-up and patrol of contained fires, under the supervision of the BC Wildfire Service. The BC Wildfire Service will provide the required personal protective equipment, firefighting equipment and incremental training as required for these tasks.

* Heavy-lift aircraft to reposition wildfire crews and equipment to new fire starts that threaten communities. These aircraft will assist with the resupply of existing operations (fire camps, air bases, etc.), which will permit BC Wildfire Service aircraft to be directed to the firefighting effort from resupply tasks.

* Aircraft for emergency transport of injured personnel and to help evacuate people in remote areas, should evacuation routes be compromised.

To report a wildfire or open burning violation, call *5555 on a cellphone, or 1 800 663-5555, toll-free.

Learn More:

For more information on wildfire prevention: www.gov.bc.ca/wildfireprevention

Detailed information about current open-fire restrictions is available on the BC Wildfire Service website: www.gov.bc.ca/wildfirebans

For up-to-date information on current wildfire activity, burning restrictions, road closures and air quality advisories, visit: www.bcwildfire.ca

For information on evacuation orders and alerts, stay tuned to your local authority’s public information channels and Emergency Info BC: https://www.emergencyinfobc.gov.bc.ca/

You can follow the latest wildfire news:

* On Twitter: http://twitter.com/BCGovFireInfo and https://twitter.com/EmergencyInfoBC