Province asking feds for help in battle against wildfires

Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General unveiled several decisions that will inform the development of legislation in preparation for federal legalization of non-medical cannabis in July in February 2018. Government plans to introduce legislation in the spring legislative session to affect these policy decisions. It will also launch a public education campaign to ensure broad public awareness of the provincial rules before they come into force. Photo by Government of B.C./Flickr

VICTORIA, B.C. – The end of the wildfire season in B.C. still weeks away and with no substantial precipitation in the forecast, the provincial government has requested help from the federal government for its firefighting efforts.

As of this morning, the 27 evacuation orders currently in effect had forced approximately 3,100 people from their homes.

Another 43 evacuation alerts mean that an additional roughly 17,900 B.C. residents need to be ready to leave their homes at a moment’s notice.

The provincial government says that there is currently more than 3,400 wildfire personnel including contractors, municipal firefighters, industry personnel and out-of-province crews from Canada, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand, responding to some 600 wildfires currently burning across B.C.

Despite this, the provincial government has made the request of the feds, asking for two hundred personnel to perform the mop-up and patrol of fires that have been contained, along with aircraft to reposition wildfire crews and equipment to new fire starts and to evacuate injured personnel and residents in remote areas.

“This is an urgent situation, and the safety of British Columbians is our highest priority,” said Public Safety Minister and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth. “Due to the increase in the number of wildfires affecting communities and the extreme wildfire behaviour we are seeing, we’re asking for federal assistance for additional resources that may be needed to protect the public, property and infrastructure.”

Farnworth is scheduled to give a press conference about the Province’s request at 2:00 p.m.