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Out-of-province firefighters, military being dispatched to help B.C. control wildfires

More than 100 firefighters arriving Monday to help in B.C. Interior
Members of the Canadian Armed Forces are being set up to help with the B.C. wildfire season. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

More help is coming to battle the B.C. wildfires.

More than 100 firefighting personnel are arriving Monday in Abbotsford and Chilliwack. They’ll be tested for COVID-19 and then dispersed to fires in the Interior. In addition, 350 RCAF troops are moving to Edmonton to be ready to assist B.C. as needed.

BC Wildfire is also seeking aviation resources from the feds this week, potentially the Hercules aircraft and rotary wing aircraft to move people around the province as needed.

BC Wildfire’s Cliff Chapman says there have been 633 wildfires, 66 per cent human-caused, so far this fire season. There have been 37 new fires in the past 24 hours alone. Chapman took part in a teleconference with B.C. emergency officials, including those from Canadian Red Cross, the RCMP and Emergency Management BC. Lisa Lapoint, chief coroner, and Dr. Bonnie Henry also spoke.

Dawn Roberts, RCMP, said there are also plans in place if another detachment is destroyed by fire, like the one in Lytton. She says officers have been pulled in to support areas like Lillooet, Cache Creek, and Ashcroft.

A non-profit agency that co-ordinates interprovincial aid and resources warns more difficult days lie ahead in B.C.

“Anticipating multiple fire starts each day over the next (three) days,” says the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre in its report issued Sunday.

Environment Canada is maintaining heat warnings for several B.C. regions, including areas where many of the most threatening wildfires continue to burn.

Daytime highs of 35 C and nighttime lows barely falling below 20 C increase the risk of wildfires due to drought conditions, says the weather office.

Lightning is in Monday’s forecast for many of the at-risk regions, with a chance of showers.

The weather agency predicts the heat wave that began last month will continue at least through Monday night.

-with files from Katya Slepian, Black Press

READ MORE: Lytton fire shows ‘minimal’ growth in past day: BC Wildfire Service


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