B.C. sends more troops to fight fires in Central Canada

B.C. sends more troops to fight fires in Central Canada

30 May 2010

published by www.ctvbc.ctv.ca

Canada — B.C. is sending another 157 fire fighting personnel to help battle raging wildfires in Ontario and Quebec.

The province already deployed 223 people across Ontario, Quebec, and Alaska, but Fire Information Officer Gwen Eamer said B.C. had more resources to spare.

“We’re really pleased that we’re able to do this this year,” she said. “When we’re in need, we call on crews from outside B.C. to help out.”

The province has also sent 115 pump kits and 350,000 metres of hose, Eamer said.

B.C. has seen 234 fires so far this year, down slightly from the five-year average of 294, and far fewer than the 341 that had sparked by this time last year.

In 2009, nearly 2,500 people from outside B.C. came in to help the wildfire fighting effort, Eamer said.

There are currently 1,200 firefighters battling 52 fires in Quebec alone, nine of which are still out of control. Some 70,000 hectares of forest have been destroyed, and three Quebec communities were evacuated this week.

Should the wildfire situation in B.C. worsen, the crews will be returned home immediately.

“We can have them home in a day,” Eamer said, adding that “we wouldn’t have sent them if we thought we would need them immediately.”

The extra personnel, including ground crews, task force leaders, fire behaviour analysts and division supervisors, are flying out Sunday and Monday.

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