B.C. wildfires: Federal minister expects request for help

Vancouver –

Canada’s emergency preparedness minister said he expected a “fairly substantial” request for help from British Columbia as wildfires worsened.

Bill Blair told the Canadian Press that the Government Operations Center has been in talks with the state over the last few days and with a formal request for assistance scheduled for Thursday, the City of Ottawa is ready to commit the necessary resources. He said he was.

“The fire season is obviously pretty serious right now and they’ve sent us instructions for the additional resources we’ll need,” he said in an interview Thursday.

“For the past 48 hours, we have been working with people from the Canadian Armed Forces, the Canadian Parks Service, the Canadian Natural Resources Agency and the Canadian Coast Guard,” Blair said. “Various federal departments and agencies are mobilizing to meet British Columbia’s demands.”

He said federal assistance could include military assistance for remote air evacuations and military personnel trained as firefighters who can “clear” fires to prevent them from reigniting after they are extinguished. said there is.

“If there are communities that are isolated and need to be evacuated, the Canadian military will provide those resources,” Blair said.

The Canadian Coast Guard is also mobilizing assistance to affected coastal areas, and staff from the Natural Resources Agency of Canada, which has expertise in forest management, is also preparing to help, he said.

Blair added that Parks Canada is ready to help British Columbia with park firefighters and forest management experts because of its many national parks.

Blair said British Columbia is one of the states better prepared to deal with the fires, as it is one of the hardest-hit states, but he is making sure he gets the extra help he needs. rice field.

Prime Minister David Evey said earlier this week that the state is seeking more firefighting assistance, especially aviation equipment, in fighting the wildfires.

He said projections suggest B.C. and Canada are facing the worst fire season in 100 years.

Eby thanked international firefighters in Mexico and the United States who are working on the front lines with state personnel for their support.

With more than 350 wildfires raging across the state, the BC Wildfire Service warned that another heat wave in many areas could put an additional strain on already stretched crews. are doing.

The Bushfire Service said a 300-square-kilometer blaze a week ago near Highway 37, just south of the Yukon border, has subsided, but the blaze and other blazes raged across northern British Columbia. Similar blazes could reignite during the heatwave expected in the next few days, they said.

This report by the Canadian Press Agency was first published on July 13, 2023.

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