B.C. is deploying over a hundred more firefighting personnel to respond to wildfire threats outside the province.
The B.C. Wildfire Service announced Saturday it will be sending seven crew members to the Yukon Sunday to assist with “an increasing wildfire threat” in the northern territory.
On Monday and Tuesday, 137 more personnel will be deployed to Alberta, where several wildfires are currently burning out of control.
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The crews include 116 firefighters and a 21-person incident management team.
Those members will replace the 267 personnel who were sent to Alberta on May 22 and 23, who will be ending their 19-day deployment later this week.
The B.C. Wildfire Service said it “recognizes the importance of sharing firefighting resources” considering the help B.C. got from Alberta and the Yukon during the province’s last two record-breaking wildfire seasons.
“It would have been very difficult for us to fight those fires without their support,” fire information officer Kyla Fraser said.
The wildfire situation in northern Alberta has exploded over the past two weeks, with roughly 10,000 people forced from their homes by at least three out-of-control fires.
Fraser said it’s not yet known where the personnel going to Alberta will be deployed, but said it’s safe to say many will be sent to the High Level fire, which has grown to roughly 280,000 hectares in size.
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The Yukon government, meanwhile, has issued a fire ban for the southern half of the territory as dry weather has led to “extreme fire conditions.”
The seven B.C. personnel heading north include six firefighters and one fire camp manager.
Fraser said B.C. will still have enough personnel within the province to handle the local current and forecasted fire situation.
“If the situation were to worsen in B.C. we could recall these crews at any time, but we’re confident we have enough personnel here to respond to any situation that may arise,” she said.
The current fire danger rating has most of the province sitting at either “moderate” or “high.” Seven active wildfires have sparked in the past two days, including a fire burning near Penticton.
— With files from Robyn Crawford