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100 Brazilian firefighters deployed to Prince George fire centre

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For the first time ever, a team from Brazil has joined the B.C. wildfire fight.

"We are incredibly grateful to each and every one of them," said Bowinn Ma, B.C.'s Minister of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness.

Speaking to media from the Abbotsford Airport with the firefighters in the background, Ma said the Brazilians will join 600 out-of-province firefighters including some from Mexico and the U.S.

"We're feeling very confident about the number of resources that we have and are being deployed,” she said.

The consul general of Brazil also attended the event.

“What I can say is they have enormous experience on the ground and they will contribute very much to this task," said Renato Mosca, consul general of Brazil. "Brazil has much to contribute and we are always willing to cooperate with friendly nations."

“We are very excited to help the guys and join the other firefighters,” said Ana Canut, one of the approximately 50 Brazilian firefighters who attended the press event.

According to B.C. wildfire officials, around 61,000 lightning strikes in the past week, plus warm and windy weather have led to challenging conditions.

"About 75 per cent of our fires on the land right now that are active are lightning-caused," said Mike McCulley, information officer with BC Wildfire Service.

McCulley says even when rainfall accompanies lightning strikes, fires can still occur.

"Sometimes the heat will just stay in the ground and you won't notice a fire right away. We call that a holdover start. So once the rain dries out -- and that doesn't take very long in these types of conditions -- and the winds pick up and the conditions become more conducive to fire showing itself, we'll see smoke and flame and that's when we get a new fire,” he said.

While the Brazilian firefighters have taken off to northeast B.C., Ma says their deployment could change at a moment's notice.

So far this year, wildfires have scorched more than 1.4 million hectares across the province.

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