B.C. wildfire crosses into Alberta, medical teams to help evacuees

B.C. mobile hospital, counsellors preparing to help care for thousands evacuated from Fort McMurray

The B.C. government is preparing to send medical and psychological teams to help care for people evacuated from Fort McMurray, as the B.C. Wildfire Service works to contain a fire that has burned across the Alberta border north of Fort St. John.

The Siphon Creek wildfire was estimated at 9,000 hectares as it spread into Alberta  on Thursday. B.C. ground crews and helicopters are working to contain it, with priority on protecting the Doig River First Nation community south of the fire.

The largest B.C. fire in a cluster in the north Peace region is the Beatton Airport Road fire, estimated at 10,000 hectares. It was listed as 85 per cent contained by Friday morning, and the Alaska Highway reopened after the fire crossed to the west side of the highway.

The Peace River Regional District issued an evacuation order Thursday for the area around Mile 80 of the Alaska Highway and the area affected by the Beatton Airport Road fire.

With eight significant fires in the region keeping B.C. fire crews and aircraft busy, the province has shipped pumps and hoses to Alberta to assist. A mobile hospital and a team of volunteer counsellors, social workers and psychologists was being prepared Friday to assist with evacuees in Alberta.

Ontario has sent 100 firefighters to Alberta to help with the Fort McMurray fire, which has forced evacuation of 88,000 people and destroyed part of the town. Quebec has dispatched four water bombers to northern Alberta.

Premier Christy Clark said the issue of wildfires was discussed by western premiers at their meeting in Vancouver that wrapped up Friday.

 

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