Mexican and U.S. firefighters to assist in fighting B.C. wildfires

The City of Merritt is under evacuation alert Sunday night.
The City of Merritt is under evacuation alert Sunday night. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Firefighters from Mexico and the United States have been engaged to assist the B.C. Wildfire Service.

One hundred and eight wildfire personnel from Mexico will arrive this week and are expected to be deployed to wildfire zones in B.C.’s Interior on Friday. This is the first time Mexican personnel have assisted the province, although they have fought fires in Alberta many times in the past.

B.C. continues to experience sustained hot and dry weather that exacerbates the already busy summer wildfire season. These conditions also prompted a persistent “High” fire danger rating throughout the province.

“Given the severity of B.C. wildfires this year, we greatly appreciate the ability to draw on personnel from beyond our borders,” said Doug Donaldson, minister of forests, lands, natural resource operations and rural development, in a release.

WATCH: Australian firefighters coming to lend a hand

The Mexican firefighters are in addition to the 27 firefighters from Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan as part of crews that arrived from Ontario this weekend.

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“We thank all incoming crews, as well as all our B.C. crews and contractors in their ongoing firefighting efforts,” said Donaldson.

READ: Heat wave for B.C.’s South Coast as temperatures set to soar

Firefighting crews are on standby in all six of B.C.’s fire centres in preparation for an anticipated increase in fire starts over the next few days due to unsettled weather in the forecast, which may bring lightning.

The cost of bringing in the international resources will be covered by the province.

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