It may be wet in British Columbia these days, but elsewhere the forest fire threat remains high and the province has been asked to help in several locations.
The wildfire management branch of BC is sending an additional 62 personnel to assist with increased fire activity in the Yukon. One tanker group will also be departing for Alaska.
This is the second wave of BC firefighting personnel sent to the Yukon and Alaska, part of three out-of-province deployments so far this year. The total number of personnel assisting with firefighting efforts in the Yukon is now 84, with 13 personnel now assisting in Alaska.
The personnel heading to the Yukon consist of two, 20-person unit crews; five, three-person initial attack crews; and one agency representative from the Kamloops fire centre, as well as two, three-person initial attack crews from the coastal fire centre. These crews will be sent to Whitehorse and Dawson. One tanker group, consisting of one airtanker and one birddog plane, will be deployed to Palmer, Alaska.
The request for assistance was made through the Northwest Compact Agreement, which allows for mutual resource sharing with Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Alaska, the Yukon, the Northwest Territories, Alberta and Saskatchewan. Considering the current and forecasted provincial fire situation, sufficient personnel and resources remain in BC to respond appropriately to any fire activity. Crews can be deployed for up to 19 days, but can be recalled at any time.
A unit crew is a 20-person, sustained-action crew that typically works on large fires and can be self-sufficient in the field for up to 72 hours at a time. An initial attack crew is usually assigned to new, smaller fires while an agency representative acts as the link between the deployed crews and the wildfire management branch. An airtanker group consists of one or more airtankers and a birddog aircraft that support crews on the ground by dropping retardant around a wildfire.