Fire help arriving from Ontario, Australia

Reinforcements arrive in Abbotsford and Cranbrook, aircraft deployed to Kamloops with more wildfire help on the way

Firefighters and aircraft from Ontario arrived in B.C. Tuesday to help deal with the growing wildfire threat, and more reinforcements are on their way from Australia.

Ontario sent 70 firefighters and specialists to Abbotsford and Cranbrook for deployment in the Coastal and Southeast fire centres, with two skimming aircraft, a “birddog” plane and an air attack officer arriving at the Kamloops fire centre.

Forests Minister Steve Thomson said he expects further help to arrive from Australia, with more personnel coming from New Zealand to assist fire crews in Alberta.

More assistance has been requested through the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre, which sent B.C. crews to Alaska, Alberta and Yukon earlier in the season.

The B.C. Wildfire Service recorded 23 new fires Monday, with 184 active fires in the province. As of Tuesday there were 40 homes under evacuation order and another 920 on alert.

Smoke advisories continued Tuesday for Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, the Sea to Sky corridor, with new advisories for south and eastern Vancouver Island from Campbell River to Victoria, including the Port Alberni area where the Dog Mountain fire continued to grow.

The Hawaii Mars water bomber based at Sproat Lake was undergoing testing and crew training, expected to be ready for service by Thursday.

Dr. James Lu of Vancouver Coastal Health said air conditions have improved in southwestern B.C., but smoke advisories remain in place. Very young, elderly and those with chronic lung and heart conditions or diabetes are advised to stay indoors and reduce physical activity, with air conditioning or filtering if available.

A province-wide outdoor fire ban was extended to include the western strip of Vancouver Island known as the “fog zone” as the forecast of hot and dry weather continued.

Kurtis Isfeld of the BC Wildfire Service said he is expecting about 30 new fire starts a day for the “foreseeable future.”

 

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