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200 out-of-province personnel, from Alberta to Australia, joining B.C. wildfire fight

BC Wildfire Service issues call for help in firefight
With more than 450 wildfires burning around B.C., the province has issued a call for outside help to manage a firefight that has quickly grown beyond its capacity. Ted Chernecki reports.

Out-of-province help is coming for crews battling B.C.’s wildfires.

The Ministry of Forests Lands and Natural Resources says more than 200 personnel — some from as far away as New Zealand — have already begun to pour into the province.

The move comes as B.C. escalates to Provincial Preparedness Level 4 for the first time this year, a designation that means it needs help from outside to manage escalating wildfire activity.

READ MORE: B.C.’s wildfire situation just grew so large, it needs outside help to fight the flames

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

Another 20 firefighters from Saskatchewan, along with 10 support staff, are scheduled to arrive on Sunday.

WATCH: Snowy Mountain wildfire more than 6,500 hectares and growing

Snowy Mountain wildfire more than 6,500 hectares and growing
Snowy Mountain wildfire more than 6,500 hectares and growing

And international crews will begin touching down next week. Sixty-five firefighters and support staff from New Zealand and 62 firefighters from Mexico will arrive on Monday, to be joined by 25 Australian support staff.

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READ MORE: BC Wildfire Service calls on Alberta for a little help

Quebec is also loaning four Canadair CL-415 water-skimming aircraft to the province, joining the some-150 firefighting aircraft already on the job.

The BC Wildfire Service says there are already 2,200 people engaged in wildfire response — a group composed of wildfire service crews, provincial staffers and forest industry personnel and contractors.

WATCH: Crews work to contain wildfire near Merritt

Crews work to contain wildfire near Merritt
Crews work to contain wildfire near Merritt

Out-of-province wildfire crews are coordinated through the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre. The province that makes the request for help pays the cost associated with the deployment.

READ MORE: B.C. wildfire crews recalled from Ontario, Quebec as fire situation worsens

Last week, B.C. made its first request of the year for out-of-province help, bringing on 17 personnel from Alberta.

Earlier in the summer, it was B.C. that was lending a hand. More than 200 firefighters and personnel were deployed to Ontario and Quebec to help those provinces get a handle on out-of-control wildfires.

Last year, firefighters from every province and territory except for Nunavut, along with crews from the U.S., Mexico, Australia and New Zealand were called in to help B.C. fight its worst-ever wildfire season.