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Alberta sending 40 RCMP officers to help with B.C. wildfire emergency

Click to play video '‘Everybody is safe’: RCMP say they weren’t caught off-guard by BC fires' ‘Everybody is safe’: RCMP say they weren’t caught off-guard by BC fires
WATCh ABOVE: RCMP in B.C. said Tuesday that the force was not caught off guard by the size and speed of the wildfires, saying the key objective was "everybody is safe."

RCMP in British Columbia have asked for help and Alberta is responding by sending 40 officers with the Special Tactical Operations unit to help in the wildfire effort.

The Alberta officers will arrive in B.C. later this week, the province said.

READ MORE: Smoke from B.C. wildfires blowing into Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and U.S. 

“We want British Columbians to know that Alberta is here to help,” Premier Rachel Notley said in a news release on Tuesday.

“From sending RCMP support to firefighting crews, we are here to support our neighbours and will continue to help in any way that we can.

“Many provinces, including British Columbia, stepped up to help us last year as we battled the Fort McMurray wildfire and we want to return the favour.”

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READ MORE: ‘Fort McMurray has your back’: Residents offer advice to B.C. evacuees

Four crews of Alberta firefighters arrived in B.C. on Monday to help battle a ballooning number of wildfires. More reinforcements were expected to arrive on Tuesday.

“There is three 20-person crews as well as another crew of about 35 that are an incident management team,” Leslie Lozinski, a forestry information officer with Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development (ESRD), said from the Kamloops area.

READ MORE: B.C. wildfires 2017: How you can help

Help has poured in from across Canada three days after wildfires prompted B.C. to declare a province-wide state of emergency.

An estimated 218 fires were burning across the province as of Monday morning; they’ve led to about 14,000 people being forced from their homes.

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READ MORE: B.C. wildfire status Monday: 14,000 residents forced from their homes

“Wildfires of this size require a lot of resources and can put enormous strain on emergency responders,” Alberta Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley said.

“The RCMP officers who are deploying to B.C. will provide relief and support to their colleagues. We thank all first responders for their service to protect all Canadians.”

The Alberta officers are being deployed under provincial policing agreements with the RCMP that allow the commissioner to temporarily withdraw officers from one province to help with an emergency in another part of the country.

“This is one of the strengths of the RCMP as the national police force: to mobilize resources where and when needed in our country,” RCMP Assistant Commissioner Marlin Degrand said.

READ MORE: Alberta understands toll of wildfires, sending help to B.C.: Premier Rachel Notley

On Monday, Notley said provincial officials would keep in touch with their B.C. counterparts and continue to help in any way they could.