These countries are coming to help fight B.C. wildfires

The world is coming to B.C.’s rescue.

Out-of-province firefighting personnel and aircraft – including some from the other side of the world – are set to arrive in B.C. over the next week to help the BC Wildfire Service fight an estimated 446 wildfires burning throughout the province (as of Friday).

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According to a provincial government news release, 65 personnel from New Zealand (a mix of firefighters and support staff) and 62 firefighters from Mexico will arrive in B.C. on Monday, Aug. 6.

A group of 25 support staff from Australia are also expected to arrive next week.

Apart from this global response, help is also arriving from across the country.

* Twenty firefighters from Alberta and 15 firefighters from the Northwest Territories arrived in B.C. on Thursday, Aug. 2.

* Twenty firefighters and 10 support staff from Saskatchewan are scheduled to arrive in the province on Sunday, Aug. 5.

* Four Canadair CL-415 water-skimming aircraft from Quebec will be arriving in the coming days, joining over 150 aircraft that are currently supporting ground crews.

“These resources will join over 2,200 people currently engaged in the Province's wildfire response, including BC Wildfire Service firefighters, government staff, forest industry personnel and contractors,” said the news release.

“Requests for out-of-province assistance with wildfires are made through the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre (CIFFC), which co-ordinates the sharing of firefighting resources within Canada. Under mutual aid resource sharing agreements, the jurisdiction requesting the resources pays the costs associated with each deployment.”

The BC Wildfire Service contracts out to about 50 companies to provide contract firefighters and specialized staff, such as tree fallers and heavy equipment operators.

“As of Aug. 2, the BC Wildfire Service had over 900 contract personnel working on wildfires throughout the province and over 130 pieces of contracted heavy equipment on the fireline.”


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