The first waves of support are flooding in to Kamloops and Prince George as the devastation caused by the wildfires becomes more clear.
310 firefighters began to arrive on Sunday to help BC Wildfire Services get a handle on the over 220 wildfires that continue to burn throughout the central interior and southern parts of the province.
In two days over 223 fires sparked, and with their extremely violent behavior and rapid growth the province has declared a state of emergency leading to a request for additional support from the rest of the provinces. According to a BC government press release, this is a situation that under normal circumstances would be sufficiently taken care of with their own resources.
More than 1,600 firefighters from BC, along with 2,500 private contractors and additional support staff are in place to manage the wildfire season. In addition to those numbers, hundreds of fire crews, support staff, incident management teams and fire investigators have arrived and are ready to be deployed wherever they’re needed.
Kevin Skrepnec is the Chief Fire Information Officer with BC Wildfire.
The 310 firefighters are coming from:
- Alberta: 92
- Saskatchewan: 37
- Ontario: 147
- New Brunswick: 22
- Parks Canada: 12
The BC Wildfire Service is also contracting 32 aircrafts and 200 helicopters, along with 10 firefighting aircrafts from other provinces (7 airtankers and 3 ‘birddog’ aircrafts).
Additional requests for support have been made to the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre, which coordinates firefighting resources. Arrangements are underway with dozens of companies that provide contract firefighters and support staff, as an addition to the already 200 contracted personnel working on the fires.
The military and Joint Task Force is on standby in case assistance is needed with evacuations.