The Telegram (St. John's)
Ottawa sends 225 more Canadian Armed Forces members to help with B.C. fires
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.