Island firefighters heading to B.C. to help battle wildfires
A dozen firefighters from P.E.I. are leaving to help with the increasingly serious wildfire situation in Western Canada.
The 12 Islanders leave for British Columbia on Monday as part of a joint Prince Edward Island/Newfoundland and Labrador fire team.
This represents the largest contingent of forest firefighters the Island has ever sent to a national emergency.
“Over the last few years we have sent firefighters from our department to many areas of Western and Northern Canada and we are pleased to support this request as well,” said Communities, Land and Environment Minister Robert Mitchell.
“In addition to the assistance they will provide, they will return home with deeper knowledge and experience that will be invaluable should the Island face serious wildfires in future years.”
Of the 12 firefighters, 11 will be actively involved in fire suppression while the remaining member will serve as the Island’s liaison representative.
A recent bout of hot, dry and windy weather in central B.C., combined with hundreds of square kilometres of dead pine killed by the mountain pine beetle, helped to create the current fire emergency in the Western province.
P.E.I.’s forest weather index is also currently high due to recent dry weather, and the province has advised that all burning permits are suspended until conditions improve.
The majority of the Island’s forest firefighters are still in the province should they be needed.