Saskatchewan sending crews to help battle B.C. wildfires

Click to play video 'Saskatchewan sends resources to aid British Columbia in fighting wildfires' Saskatchewan sends resources to aid British Columbia in fighting wildfires
WATCH: Saskatchewan is sending firefighters to help crews in B.C. battle the wildfire crisis in that province. Meaghan Craig reports.

Saskatchewan is sending firefighters and equipment to help crews in B.C. battle the wildfire crisis.

Over 200 wildfires are burning in British Columbia, forcing 14,000 people from their homes.

FULL COVERAGE: Wildfires burning around B.C.

Emergency and wildfire management in Saskatchewan said they are closely monitoring the situation locally, following a massive heat wave that sizzled across the province.

A wet fall and timely spring rains have played to Saskatchewan’s favour, with fire threat levels relatively low in most parts of the province. This allowed officials to deploy resources to B.C. as fires scorch an estimated 35,000 hectares.

“They’ve declared a state of emergency in British Columbia and so we’ve reached out and said we should help. A couple years ago, we got help from a lot of places,” Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall said.

Story continues below advertisement

Steve Roberts, the executive director of the Saskatchewan Wildfire Management Branch, confirmed Monday that resources in the sky and equipment on the ground have already been sent.

Two air tankers, a bird dog aircraft, 50 pumps, 2,000 lengths of firefighting hose along with a wildfire investigation specialist from the province will help in the cause.

On Tuesday, even more manpower will leave on assignment, adding to the 1,000 firefighters from across the country to the front lines.

“We will send 20 firefighters and 16 wildfire specialist personnel and their destination right now is to Kamloops,” Roberts said.

READ MORE: B.C. wildfires map 2017: Current location of wildfires around the province

Personnel from all over Saskatchewan will likely be gone for two weeks, unless something should happen back home.

The largest threat at this point, according to officials, is Maple Creek, Sask.

“We have staged a fire crew down in that area – this is to augment again the municipal fire service or First Nation fire services that might require assistance in grassland type of fires,” Duane McKay, commissioner and executive director of emergency management and fire safety, said.

While no provincial fire ban has been issued, small towns or parks can trigger one when needed.

Story continues below advertisement

Concerned that any little spark could lead to a catastrophe, Palliser Regional Park near Riverhurst, Sask., implemented one last Wednesday.

Still, it’s a far cry from what was seen in Saskatchewan in 2015, when thousands of people were ordered from their homes and 112 fires were burning at one time.

As of Monday, there was one active fire burning in Saskatchewan and 100 fires so far this year compared to the five-year average of 308.

“I do think a national ability to respond to these things is something the federal government should be considering to augment and support what provinces do,” Wall said.

“I mean, if we had a situation here like we did two years ago, we couldn’t spare anything for B.C.”

Wall would like to see a basic firefighting training component for members of the Canadian Armed Forces.

WATCH MORE: Goodale explains role of Canadian Forces air assets in combating B.C. wildfires

Click to play video 'Goodale explains role of Canadian Forces air assets in combating B.C. wildfires' Goodale explains role of Canadian Forces air assets in combating B.C. wildfires
Goodale explains role of Canadian Forces air assets in combating B.C. wildfires

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale stated Monday that federal aircraft and members would be sent to help evacuees, first responders and police.

Story continues below advertisement

B.C. would also have access to the national emergency supplies stockpile and 300 more Canadian firefighters were dispatched to help battle the wildfires.