Ontario sends firefighters to British Columbia
As forest fires rage across British Columbia and force thousands from their homes, Ontario is sending on-the-ground support.
In a statement, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry Kathryn McGarry said firefighting personnel and equipment will leave for B.C. this week.
“At this time, support includes over 100 frontline firefighters. While the exact locations are still being determined, firefighters will be deployed from across Ontario,” she said, and added that the province coordinates with others through the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre.
In its daily update on Sunday, July 9, the Aviation, Forest Fire and Emergency Services for the Northwest Region said Ontario received a request for approximately 140 staff members to assist in fighting wildfires in B.C. Their deployment was scheduled for Tuesday, July 11.
“We are currently in the process of assigning staff to fill specific roles,” wrote Fire Information Officer Jonathan Scott.
“At this time, we are planning to deploy 105 FireRangers, one Incident Management Team and addi- tional support staff.”
Scott also said in an interview that the deployment numbers and resources would be split between the Northeast and the Northwest Region.
McGarry said in her statement that Ontario’s wildland fire risk has been assessed and there are the needed resources at hand “to ensure the necessary assistance for communities should we start to experi- ence an escalating situation here in Ontario.”
On the day that B.C. officially declared a state of emergency on Friday, July 7, 56 different fires started in the province.
“Our thoughts are with the people of British Columbia and with the emergency responders who are working tirelessly day and night,” McGarry said.
More than 140 forest firefighters, managers, support personnel and equipment from Northern Ontario deployed to assist in the inter-provincial forest fire suppression effort underway in British Columbia on Tuesday, July 11.