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More B.C firefighters deployed to Alberta, Yukon

The BC Wildfire Service is sending additional personnel to Alberta to help respond to an increasingly challenging wildfire situation.

Personnel will also be deployed to the Yukon to assist with an increasing wildfire threat.

A total of 137 personnel will be deployed on Monday, June 3, and Tuesday, June 4, to help where needed throughout Alberta:

  • 116 firefighters (consisting of six unit crews)
  • one 21-person incident management team

A total of seven personnel will be deployed to the Yukon on June 2, 2019:

  • six firefighters (consisting of two initial attack crews)
  • one fire camp manager

The previous 267 personnel who were sent to Alberta on May 22 and 23, 2019, will be concluding their 19-day deployment and returning to B.C. between June 6 and 8, 2019.

The request for assistance was made through the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre, which co-ordinates the mutual sharing of firefighting resources between B.C. and other jurisdictions. All associated costs are covered by the jurisdiction that requested the resources.

Considering the current and forecasted fire situation in British Columbia, sufficient personnel and resources remain in the province to respond appropriately to any fire activity here. Crews can be deployed out of province for up to 19 days, but can be recalled at any time.

The BC Wildfire Service recognizes the importance of sharing firefighting resources given the invaluable assistance that both Alberta and the Yukon provided to B.C. during the last two wildfire seasons, which were the worst in the province’s history.

Quick Facts:

  • Unit crew: A 20-person sustained action unit crew typically works on large fires and can remain self-sufficient in the field for up to 72 hours at a time. Crew members receive extensive training and are knowledgeable about wildfire behaviour, fire management tactics and fireline equipment use.
  • Initial attack crew: Initial attack firefighters operate as part of a three-person crew and are usually the first on scene of a new wildfire. Once there, the initial attack crew works quickly to set up water pumps, remove fuel from the fire’s path and dig fireguards to help control or extinguish the blaze.
  • Incident management team (IMT): When wildfires burn for extended periods, or when complex fires occur, incident management teams are called in to assume their overall management.
  • Fire camp manager: The individual who is assigned specific managerial responsibilities in running a fire camp that is equipped and staffed to provide sleeping, food, water and sanitary services to incident personnel.