With weeks of British Columbia’s fire season remaining and no relief from hot, dry conditions in sight, the Province has asked the federal government for additional Canadian Armed Forces support through September.
“British Columbia continues to deal with one of the most-devastating wildfire seasons in its history, with more than 650,000 hectares burned to date and hot, dry conditions expected to continue throughout most of the province,” said Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth.
“We recognize that more resources will be needed to sustain this important work through September, so we’re requesting those resources now.”
The Canadian Forces (CAF) will provide:
- Up to 300 Standard BC Wildfire Service (BCWS) Tier III firefighting-trained CAF members in self-sufficient camps who will assist with the mop-up and monitoring stages of the wildfires, including air support. The BCWS will provide the supervision, training, and equipment needed to keep the personnel safe.
- Temporary lodgings for firefighters transiting to and from remote locations.
In July, the Province requested and obtained CAF aid with emergency airlifts, followed by a second request for assistance in support of the RCMP efforts in the Williams Lake area.
Military personnel have been in place specifically to help with ground and air evacuations, delivering essentials like food supplies by land and air, and maintaining road checkpoints throughout the areas affected by the fires.
The CAF has deployed a total of 650 personnel to British Columbia in support of this year’s firefighting efforts.
There is currently 3,900 personnel fighting the wildfires, including 1,606 contractors and 647 from out of province.