Province Asks Ottawa For Money To Fight Wildfires

Ottawa/Victoria – With weeks of fire season remaining, and forecasts for continued hot, dry conditions that carry the risk of further lightning strikes, the provincial government has requested assistance from the federal government for its firefighting efforts.

“This is an urgent situation, and the safety of British Columbians is our highest priority,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “Due to the increase in the number of wildfires affecting communities and the extreme wildfire behaviour we are seeing, we’re asking for federal assistance for additional resources that may be needed to protect the public, property and infrastructure.”

As of Monday, August 13, there were 27 evacuation orders affecting approximately 3,100 people (1,537 properties), in addition to 43 evacuation alerts impacting approximately 17,900 people (8,909 properties).

NOTE – Farnworth said the province has spent $207 million so far this year fighting wildfires. The 2018 wildfire budget is just $63 million. The Province usually budgets low then only spends when necessary. BC spent $563M in 2017.

More than 3,400 dedicated wildfire personnel are responding to some 600 wildfires currently burning in all areas of the province. This includes BC Wildfire Service crews, contractors, municipal firefighters, industry personnel and out-of-province crews from throughout Canada, as well as Mexico, Australia and New Zealand.

The Province of British Columbia is requesting:

  • Two hundred self-sufficient personnel to perform the mop-up and patrol of contained fires, under the supervision of the BC Wildfire Service. The BC Wildfire Service will provide the required personal protective equipment, firefighting equipment and incremental training as required for these tasks.
  • Heavy-lift aircraft to reposition wildfire crews and equipment to new fire starts that threaten communities. These aircraft will assist with the resupply of existing operations (fire camps, air bases, etc.), which will permit BC Wildfire Service aircraft to be directed to the firefighting effort from resupply tasks.
  • Aircraft for emergency transport of injured personnel and to help evacuate people in remote areas, should evacuation routes be compromised.

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