Forest Service warns residents to stay away from forest fires

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Fire Information Officer Jill Kelsh says 2 public vehicles drove to the head of an active fire Tuesday while air tankers were overhead and about to drop retardant.

As a result, the aerial attack had to be postponed and ground crews were required to enter the area in front of the fire to get those responsible for the pause to leave.

These kinds of incidents during suppression operations put all involved at risk and the associated delays can lead to fire growth.

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Meantime, with the number of wildfires this season now totaling more than 1000, B.C. is looking for more help, and it’s coming from Australia.

“The personnel will arrive from Australia through this weekend,” Provincial Information Officer, Navi Saini told CHNL’S Jim Harrison. “So, they will come in groups, beginning on Saturday August 9, and the last group will arrive on Monday August 11. They could remain in B.C. for up to 5 weeks depending on fire activity.”

The total burn area this season now exceeds 237,000 hectares, and a government news release says help from the Australians will allow experienced B.C. firefighting personnel to concentrate on higher priority fires, and exhausted ones to get some time off.

B.C crews were once deployed to Australia in 2007, and again in 2009.

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