BC wildfire crews head to Quebec, Ontario to help with fires

B.C. firefighters head east

Close to 200 B.C. firefighters are heading east to assist with wildfires in Quebec.

On Friday, 120 BC Wildfire Service firefighters and three support staff are heading to Quebec, followed by another 61 people on Saturday. On Sunday, 20 firefighters and one support staff will travel to Ontario.

“British Columbia is always ready to assist other provinces when they need help fighting wildfires, and we have enough resources available to do that,” said Katrine Controy, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.

“We sent crews to Manitoba last month, and our firefighters are stepping up again to assist Quebec and Ontario.”

According to the CBC, there were 15 active fires burning across Quebec as of Thursday, and there have been 329 fires so far this year, far more than the average of 190 at this time.

Meanwhile, Northern Ontario has seen a recent uptick in wildfire activity as well.

While much of B.C. has seen very dry conditions this spring, with Agriculture Canada recently declaring a “severe drought” in the Okanagan, the province has yet to see any widespread wildfire activity.

As was the case with the Manitoba deployment last month, B.C. crews will remain in their own bubble, and they'll be following COVID-19 precautions.

"The BC Wildfire Service recognizes the importance of sharing firefighting resources with other jurisdictions, and we welcome this opportunity to provide assistance to Quebec and Ontario,” Conroy said.

"The crews can be recalled at any time if wildfire conditions change in British Columbia. However, given the current fire situation, we have sufficient resources in place to respond appropriately to wildfire activity here.”

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