Emergencies Minister Deploys Military to Combat B.C. Wildfires
VICTORIA – Wildfire Update – In response to the ongoing wildfire crisis in British Columbia, Emergencies Minister Bill Blair has announced the mobilization of federal assistance, including military resources, to support the firefighting efforts.
Federal Assistance Approved
Minister Blair has approved a request for federal assistance, acknowledging the tireless work of firefighters and emergency management personnel in B.C. The assistance will involve resources from various federal departments as well as the Canadian Armed Forces.
Request for Assistance
B.C.’s Minister of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness, Bowinn Ma, made the official request for assistance on Thursday. Earlier, Minister Blair had anticipated that B.C. would require substantial aid to combat the wildfires.
Since April 1, 2023, a staggering 1,042 wildfires have ravaged British Columbia, scorching over 1.2 million hectares of land. As of the latest update, there are currently 349 active wildfires, with more than half of them classified as Out of Control.
Widespread Lightning Activity and Rapid Fire Growth
All Fire Zones across the province have experienced significant lightning activity in the past week, leading to a surge in new fire starts. With hot and dry conditions persisting in most regions, these new fires have rapidly grown in size and exhibited extreme fire behavior. The intensity of many ongoing wildfires is so high that direct attack methods are currently ineffective, and smoke has been hampering aviation operations.
Expansion of Evacuation Orders and Alerts
As the fire activity escalates, additional Evacuation Orders and Alerts have been implemented in the Northwest, Prince George, and Cariboo Fire Centres. The BC Wildfire Service is prioritizing fires that pose a potential threat to communities and critical infrastructure as they allocate resources.
Collaboration and Support from International Partners
British Columbia is working closely with the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre (CIFFC) to bring in additional resources from outside the province. This includes the deployment of an Incident Management Team and advanced planning personnel from Australia. These reinforcements will complement the current presence of approximately 160 international personnel from Mexico and the United States who are already assisting in firefighting efforts across B.C.
The situation remains dynamic, and firefighting teams are dedicated to protecting communities and minimizing the impact of these devastating wildfires in British Columbia.