The wildfire fire season is upon us.
Canadians are waking up to the massive destruction in Slave Lake, Alberta caused by wind-whipped wildfires. The blaze is reported to have destroyed nearly half the town, which has a population comparable to Revelstoke’s.
This morning, the B.C. government announced assistance for Alberta in the form of six 20-person unit crews, six strike team leaders and three agency representatives. They have been put on standby to respond when requested by the Alberta government.
Currently, no Revelstoke personnel will be deployed. “Right now, we don’t have any of our crews alerted to go to Alberta,” says Glen Burgess, Columbia Fire Zone Fire Protection Officer. That could change.
“Because the fire situation is changing rapidly, Alberta officials are still determining the
best locations to base B.C. crews,” said a statement issued late Monday morning by the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.
The costs for a deployment will be covered by the Alberta government under a mutual aid agreement, which allows for the movement of firefighting resources across Canada, the ministry notes.
While they haven’t been dispatched to Alberta yet, Burgess noted local firefighters went into action this past weekend, fighting a 20-hectare blaze located about 16 kilometres east of Golden near the Trans-Canada Highway. A Revelstoke Unit Crew was dispatched to battle the fire, which was discovered on May 14. It is currently in mop-up stage.
UPDATE: i:30 p.m.:
A provincial Wildfire Management Branch spokesperson has told the Times Review that some of the unit crews heading to Alberta will come from the Southeast Fire Centre. A decision on which crews will attend is due later this afternoon.