More firefighting crews from out of province are arriving. Yesterday, the first crew from Manitoba landed in Prince George.
“At this point we have 12 initial attack fighters; 13 in total, that have been deployed,” says Cam Hurst, the Agency Representative for the Manitoba Wildfire Program (MWP).
The crew is heading to Vanderhoof where they will be assigned an incident.
Serge Desrosiers has been an initial attack firefighter in northern Manitoba for the past 3 years. He says it has been a slower wildfire season for them. “By this time of year, we have worked on about 200 fires or so, and we are not even at 100 this year. So it was good timing in a sense that we are free to come out here and help.”
The MWP firefighters are nationally certified; ready for any situation. However, they are now working in different terrain. “There’s no slopes or mountains, sometimes we have hills or ridges. It’s not quite the same, it doesn’t quite have the same impact on the fires on how they move and operate,” says Desrosiers. “So that will be a challenge for sure. We will really have to just pay attention and be aware of our surroundings.”
In total, 300 out of province firefighters have been deployed to BC. “We’ve got firefighters coming from New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Saskatchewan, Alberta and the North West Territories helping us with our fire situation,” says Amanda Reynolds, the Fire Information Officer for the BC Wildfire Service in Prince George. “Starting tomorrow until the 19th of July, we will have an additional 274 out of province firefighters coming to Prince George and Kamloops. Then from there they will be deployed to an incident.”
Since April 1st, 147 wildfires have been burning just under 10,000 hectares in the Prince George Fire Centre. Provincially, 618 wildfires have been burning 117, 720 hectares.
“We really appreciate all of the help that we are getting out of province,” says Reynolds. “We don’t want to forget about all of the contract firefighters that are also helping us. There’s over 600 contract firefighters supporting the BC Wildfire Service.”