Canadian Forces Chinook helicopter delivers personnel and equipment to 2017 B.C. wildfire effort. (Canadian Forces)

Ottawa agrees to send B.C. help in wildfire battle

Canadian Forces to join foreign crews as B.C. reaches 600 fires

Calling it an “urgent situation,” B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth ‘s call for federal assistance with wildfire control was greeted with approval.

The request sent Monday for 200 personnel who can work independently in the back country, plus aircraft for equipment delivery and possible emergency evacuation flights, was soon answered by federal Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale.

Canadian Army and Air Force units were called in last summer and the call has gone out again, with evacuation orders affecting more than 3,000 people and another 43 alerts in place around the province.

Due to the increase in the number of wildfires affecting communities and the extreme wildfire behaviour we’re seeing, we’re asking for federal assistance for additional resources that may be needed to protect the public, property and infrastructure,” Farnworth said.

Farnworth said the request is for “200 self-contained personnel who are able to stay out in the bush for quite some time, whose job it would be to mop up and control the fire zones on those fires that have been contained.

“That will help free up additional resources here in B.C.,” Farnworth said. “We’ve also asked for additional heavy lifting aircraft to be able to move heavy equipment to where it’s needed, as well as the potential of emergency aircraft to assist in evacuations from remote communities.”

B.C. has 3,400 wildfire personnel working on 600 fires across the province, including contractors, municipal firefighters, forest industry personnel and out-of-province crews from across Canada, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand.

Farnworth said while the total area affected is about one quarter what B.C. faced last year, the number of fires is above the 10-year average. “Last year there were fewer fires, but they were vastly larger than what we’re seeing today,” he said.

B.C. has spent about $207 million so far on the fire season, substantially less than last year’s record season.

“One of the big impacts in terms of costs last year that we have not faced to date this year has been the evacuation and housing of people and all of the resources that went into ensuring that their needs are met,” Farnworth said.

BC legislaturebc wildfires

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Glimpses of Revelstoke’s past for Sept. 24

A look at our local history, gathered by Revelstoke Museum & Archives staff

City applying for grant to build trail along Airport Way

The trail would connect McKinnon Rd. with Nichol Rd.

Fabrication lab, offices and new washrooms coming to Revelstoke’s Business and Visitor Information Centre

City council awarded the $500,000 contract to Jordan Cochrane Construction

‘Schools are healthy’: IH medical health officer

Children have a low risk of catching and spreading COVID-19

B.C.’s top doctor thanks supporters after revealing threats over COVID-19 measures

Dr. Bonnie Henry says COVID-19 has caused some people to lash out in anger and frustration out of fear

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

B.C. VOTES 2020: Speculation tax misses speculators, B.C. Liberals say

Andrew Wilkinson, John Horgan clash over housing costs, solutions

Kelowna RCMP warn public as gift card scam season comes

“Gift cards are for gifts, not payments,” Kelowna RCMP said

Osoyoos model train attraction wins Tripadvisor award

Desert Model Railroad wins nod for Traveller’s Choice

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Hedley man advertises bounty on rats

One rat tail will net five dollars

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

NDP, Greens divided on pace of child care improvements in B.C. election campaign

NDP Leader John Horgan recommitted to $10-a-day child care and blamed the Greens for not supporting his efforts

Most Read