Local personnel are being sent to British Columbia to help fight the hundreds of wildfires burning in that province.
On Wednesday, the B.C. government declared a provincial state of emergency to ensure federal, provincial and local resources can be delivered as roughly 566 wildfires are burning across the province.
Information officer for the Fort McMurray Forest Area Lynn Daina tells Mix News five single resources from our region are working out of the Calgary fire centre assisting with the Sage Creek wildfire near the Alberta border.
Two four-person firefighting crews are also en route to B.C. and will be working in the Prince George area.
“They absolutely don’t have the resources on staff available to combat the number of fires that they have. When there’s a state of emergency and they’re looking at importing through not just Alberta, but Canada and internationally as well, in order to fulfill the need that they have to try and combat all the fires they have ongoing at the moment,” says Daina.
As of Thursday morning, 45 firefighters and support staff from Alberta are being sent out west. Daina says depending on how the situation progresses more personnel could be dispatched.
According to the B.C. government, more than 3,372 firefighters and contractors are actively engaged in fighting fires in all fire regions of the province. This includes personnel from Alberta, New Brunswick, Northwest Territories, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Parks Canada, Australia, Mexico and New Zealand.
The state of emergency is initially in effect for 14 days, once issued, and may be extended or rescinded as necessary.
However, it doesn’t look like there is any relief in sight as the extended weather forecast calls for continued hot and dry conditions, with the risk of thunderstorms in some parts of the province.
No Fires Burning Locally
Here at home, Daina says there are currently no wildfires burning in the Fort McMurray Forest Area.
“Our forest has not received any precipitation for quite some time, so it’s still really important people are very aware of what safety precautions need to be taken when you have campfires or are out on your quad. Let’s keep it to the point that there are no fires in our forest area.”
She adds any smoke we see in our region over the next couple days is coming from wildfires burning in B.C.
Since March 1, there have been 94 wildfires that have burned approximately 2,671 hectares in the Fort McMurray Forest Area.