B.C. sends 204 firefighters and personnel to Quebec, Ontario to help fight wildfires
A wildfire burns at Elephant Hill near Ashcroft, B.C. in this 2017 file photo captured by resident Barb Woodburn.
VANCOUVER -- Two-hundred-and-four B.C. firefighters and personnel have been deployed to help fight wildfires in Quebec and Ontario.
Sending firefighters to other provinces or countries is a common mutual aid practice when it comes to controlling wildfires. The news came in a statement from the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.
B.C., which is known for its often unruly and destructive summer wildfires, will be able to call the firefighters back should they be needed on their home turf.
“The crews can be recalled at any time if wildfire conditions change in British Columbia,” said Minister Katrine Conroy in the statement.
“However, given the current fire situation, we have sufficient resources in place to respond appropriately to wildfire activity here.”
BC Wildfire Service sent 180 firefighters to Quebec on Friday and Saturday, along with three support staff. The service is also sending 20 firefighters and one support person to Ontario on Sunday.
The move comes as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, posing potential challenges in infection control should any of the firefighters be carrying the virus. But Conroy said there are measures in place to make it safer.
"COVID-19 precautions will be taken to protect the health of everyone participating, both during their time in Central Canada and on their return to this province. Firefighters will remain within their own 'bubbles' and conduct operations separately from Quebec and Ontario firefighters.”