Crews from Mexico, Quebec coming to BC to help fight fires

Firefighters on the way

Firefighters from Mexico and Quebec are on the way to BC.

A contingent of 100 Mexican firefighters and 20 Quebec firefighters are coming to assist the BC Wildfire Service with hundreds of raging fires.

"We're deploying all available resources to respond to hundreds of wildfires across the province, and will continue to do everything possible to protect communities," said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. "We are grateful for firefighters from Mexico and Quebec who will help strengthen our wildfire response and protect British Columbians."

The 20-person crew from Quebec is supposed to arrive today.

The Mexican firefighters are expected to arrive in Abbotsford July 24, accompanied by one COVID-19 safety officer and two agency representatives.

"We appreciate the firefighting assistance we're receiving from other Canadian provinces and from Mexico," said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. "These crews are a welcome addition to our own firefighters and contractors, who are working extremely hard to help keep B.C. communities safe."

The new arrivals will be deployed to work on wildfires in the Interior under the direction of the BCWF, with strict COVID-19 protocols in place.

The Mexican firefighters will be tested for COVID-19 prior to leaving Mexico and again on their arrival in British Columbia. They will also be offered COVID-19 vaccinations before being deployed in B.C.

The Quebec and Mexico crews will live and work in operational "bubbles" apart from B.C. crews to minimize COVID-19 risks. They will also remain in their own bubbles when away from the fire lines.

British Columbians are urged to be especially careful and vigilant over the coming weeks as aggressive wildfires continue to burn in many areas of the province, due in part to hot and dry conditions caused by record-breaking temperatures earlier this fire season.

The BC Wildfire Service also reminds people campfires and all open burning are prohibited throughout B.C.

To report a new wildfire or an open burning violation, call 1-800-663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on a cellphone.

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