Ot­tawa sends 225 more Cana­dian Armed Forces mem­bers to help with B.C. fires

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - CANADA -

The fed­eral govern­ment is send­ing 225 ad­di­tional Cana­dian Armed Forces mem­bers to help on the ground in Bri­tish Columbia, where more than 45,000 people re­main out of their homes due to fast-mov­ing wild­fires.

Pub­lic Safety Min­is­ter Mike Farn­worth said the un­armed mil­i­tary mem­bers will as­sist with road checks in key ac­cess points in the In­te­rior, free­ing lo­cal po­lice to do other du­ties.

“I’m pleased that (Ot­tawa has) acted as quickly as they have done in terms of rec­og­niz­ing the pres­sure that not only the people fight­ing the fires are un­der, but also the RCMP and polic­ing forces,” he told re­porters in Kam­loops.

“There are a lot of tired people out there who need a break.”

Farn­worth said that 150 ad­di­tional mil­i­tary mem­bers were com­ing, but the Cana­dian Armed Forces clar­i­fied later Thurs­day that, in fact, 225 per­son­nel were on their way to Wil­liams Lake. The mem­bers will join 150 per­son­nel al­ready in the area, bring­ing the to­tal num­ber of mil­i­tary mem­bers sup­port­ing emer­gency man­age­ment ef­forts in B.C. to 375.

Farn­worth, who was sworn in Tues­day as part of B.C.’s new NDP govern­ment, said he, Forests Min­is­ter Doug Don­ald­son, and Par­lia­men­tary Sec­re­tary for Emer­gency Pre­pared­ness Jennifer Rice, will meet with fed­eral min­is­ters on the week­end.

The Cana­dian Armed Forces has al­ready sent a num­ber he­li­copters and fixed-wing air­craft to the prov­ince.

On Wed­nes­day, Pre­mier John Hor­gan ex­tended a provincewide state of emer­gency for an­other two weeks.

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