Due to elevated wildfire activity in British Columbia, the province confirmed that 70 personnel will be arriving from Ontario to assist with B.C.’s firefighting efforts.
Sixty-three sustained-action firefighters and seven other specialized personnel from Ontario will arrive in Abbotsford and Cranbrook today. They will be deployed throughout the Coastal Fire Centre and Southeast Fire Centre, based on current fire activity and projected need. As a result of the continued extreme and high fire danger ratings in regions throughout B.C., fire bans have been implemented around the province, including the “Fog Zone” on the western coast of Vancouver Island, effective at noon on Wednesday, July 8. The use of fireworks is prohibited.
In addition, two amphibious skimming aircraft, one bird dog aircraft and an air attack officer from Ontario will also arrive in Kamloops today.
These requests for assistance were made through the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre, which co-ordinates the mutual sharing of firefighting resources between B.C. and other Canadian jurisdictions. Costs associated with these requests will be covered by B.C. under the Mutual Aid Resources Sharing Agreement, which allows for the movement of firefighting resources throughout Canada.
Meanwhile, the province is cautioning all British Columbians to be diligent with fire safety and report all wildfires to authorities as 184 active fires are being fought across British Columbia with 9 evacuation alerts and orders currently in effect, impacting over 800 homes.
Twenty-seven new fires started in B.C. yesterday, with extreme fire hazard rating in many areas, and hot and dry weather conditions continuing to present challenges to firefighting efforts. British Columbians are urged to be responsible and abide by all fire bans and evacuation orders until conditions change.
Campfire bans have now been implemented across the province. Failure to abide by the Wildfire Act, including open burning restrictions, can result in a $345 fine. Anyone who causes damage to Crown forest or grass land through arson or recklessness can be fined up to $1 million or spend up to three years in prison.
Air quality status:
If you see or smell smoke in the air, you’re encouraged to avoid strenuous outdoor activities, especially people with chronic underlying medical conditions. Staying indoors and in air conditioned spaces helps to reduce fine particulate exposure. Exposure is particularly a concern for infants, the elderly and those who have underlying respiratory conditions – like asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease – or heart disease.
For information on current air quality readings in B.C. please visit www.bcairquality.ca