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Armed forces to begin helping with fire response as 77 new wildfires start over 2 days: BC Wildfire Service

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New wildfires in British Columbia continue to ignite thanks to hot, dry conditions and sporadic thunderstorms with lightning across the Interior.

The BC Wildfire Service is anticipating troops from the Canadian Armed Forces will be arriving in the coming days.

“(We’re) expecting to receive some military assistance over the next number of days from the Canadian military,” said fire information officer Jean Strong.

Seventy-seven new blazes have sparked in the last two days, bringing the total number of active fires to 175.

Of those, 11 are wildfires of note, meaning they are highly visible or pose a potential risk to public safety.

A number of evacuation orders remain in place. Officials say that lightning strikes are what ignited most of the fires.

“We do continue to see heightened activity across the province, especially in Prince George Fire Center, Caribou Fire Center, and the Kamloops Fire Center,” Strong said.

“In the evening last night, and throughout the night, we did see a number of new ignitions in different areas around the province, including one near Logan Lake that is resulting in potential evacuations.”

On Friday, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said the federal government had established a forward operating location in Edmonton, with one Hercules aircraft and two Chinook helicopters as well as 350 troops.

A call for assistance has also been made to other provinces, with the hope they can send firefighters and equipment to B.C.

In the event that other provinces are not able to fulfill the need, the BC Wildfire Service said it will seek help from international partners who may be able to dispatch crews to the province.

“Additionally, we've seen some really fabulous support from structural fire departments around the province, especially in that Little Creek area with structure protection departments providing personnel and equipment,” said Strong.

BC Wildfire Service was unable to provide an approximate number of people or properties currently under evacuation order across the province.

Correction

July 3: This story has been updated from a previous version to correct the day that Sajjan spoke of the armed forces helping in the wildfire fight. The minister spoke about it on Friday, not Thursday.

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