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Crews from U.S., Mexico headed to northern B.C. to help fight wildfires

B.C. Wildfire Service preparing for an active, busy period in the coming weeks
The Donnie Creek wildfire burns in an area between Fort Nelson and Fort St. John, B.C., in this undated handout photo provided by the BC Wildfire Service. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-BC Wildfire Service **MANDATORY CREDIT **

B.C. Wildfire Service’s operations director says they’re finding great success in getting additional resources by asking for help proactively.

Sixty personnel from the United States are arriving Thursday (July 6) to help fight fires, while 100 firefighters will be arriving from Mexico at the end of the week, explained Cliff Chapman Wednesday during an update on B.C.’s wildfire season, which has seen more than one million hectares burned so far this year. He said it currently ranks as the third-worst season in B.C.’s history.

READ MORE: 1 million hectares burned in B.C. as wildfire season just getting started

Those 160 personnel help with suppression efforts, as well as keep the B.C. Wildfire Service for any new starts in the coming weeks. They will all be heading to the Prince George Fire Centre, which has seen the worst of the fire season so far this year.

“Obviously we need to be adaptable so if something big starts somewhere else in the province, we may change that plan.”

Chapman explained there are resource challenges across Canada and the United States, but the wildfire service is continuing to request additional resources.

It’s “not because we’re out (of resources) in B.C. at this point, but because we want to ensure that we have enough resources to rest our staff at appropriate intervals.”

The B.C. Wildfire Service continues to put in small requests, and they haven’t been getting any “nos,” Chapman explained.

“We know the next period is going to be active, it’s going to be busy and so we have already booked placeholders in for additional resources in from other areas.”

He added that other provinces in Canada are starting to see some “new players,” with fire crews coming from the Dominican Republic, Brazil and Korea.

“The first agency that receives staff and firefighters from the Dominican Republic or Korea, it’s about understanding their skill set and how they translate into how we fight fire in Canada.”

READ MORE: B.C. Wildfire Service applauds the 1,000 calls to report 46 new fires


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Lauren Collins

About the Author: Lauren Collins

I'm a provincial reporter for Black Press Media's national team, after my journalism career took me across B.C. since I was 19 years old.
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