Firefighters from B.C. are being deployed to assist with efforts in Northern Alberta where fires have forced the evacuation of thousands of residents.
A total of 267 B.C. personnel will be deployed on Wednesday, May 22, and Thursday, May 23, said Kyla Fraser, BC Wildfire Service fire information officer in Kamloops.
The deployment will include 235 firefighters consisting of 10 initial attack crews and 10 unit crews, three agency representatives, a 19-person incident management team and 14 supervisors.
“There are 23 firefighters going from the Cariboo Fire Centre,” Fraser told Black Press.
The request for assistance was made through the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre, which co-ordinates the mutual sharing of firefighting resources between B.C. and other jurisdictions, she said, noting all associated costs are covered by the jurisdiction that requested the resources.”
Considering the current and forecasted fire situation in B.C., sufficient personnel and resources remain in the province to respond appropriately to any fire activity here, she added.
The #BCWildfire Service will be supplying @AlbertaWildfire with 267 BCWS personnel to assist with its increasing wildfire threat. To all those responding to wildfires in Alberta, we wish you safety and success! More info: https://t.co/lSFIgNC2pL— BC Wildfire Service (@BCGovFireInfo) May 21, 2019
As of Tuesday, May 21, there are presently no fires of note in the Cariboo Fire Centre.
Wildfire statistics up until May 20, listed on the BC Wildfire website show there have been 22 fires to date and a total of 1,881 hectares burned.
Crews can be deployed out-of-province for up to 19 days, but can be recalled at any time.
The BC Wildfire Service recognizes the importance of sharing firefighting resources given the invaluable assistance Alberta has provided to B.C. during the last two wildfire seasons, which were the worst in the province’s history.
Initial attack crew: initial attack firefighters operate as part of a three-person crew and are usually the first on scene of a new wildfire. Once there, the initial attack crew works quickly to set up water pumps, remove fuel from the fire’s path and dig fireguards to help control or extinguish the blaze.
Unit crew: a 20-person sustained action unit crew typically works on large fires and can remain self-sufficient in the field for up to 72 hours at a time. Crew members receive extensive training and are knowledgeable about wildfire behaviour, fire management tactics and fireline equipment use.
Agency representative: the agency representative acts as a link between deployed crews and the BC Wildfire Service.
Supervisors: they supervise fireline personnel as well as assist with managing heavy equipment resources.
Incident management team: When wildfires burn for extended periods, or when complex fires occur, incident management teams are called in to assume their overall management.
For the latest information on current wildfire activity, burning restrictions, road closures and air quality advisories in B.C., visit: http://www.bcwildfire.ca
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