Surrey Fire Service is headed to the interior to help fight the wildfires that so far have led to 14,000 people being evacuated.
“We’re coming to do all we can,” Surrey fire tweeted out on Tuesday evening.
Deputy Chief Larry Thomas said Surrey’s fire department responded to a request from the provincial fire commissioner’s office on Tuesday.
“We’re sending up a crew of four,” he told the Now-Leader. “We also sent up two staff for the mobile command centre and one chief.”
Surrey Fire Service is also sending equipment.
“One structural firefighting engine and they also wanted our mobile command post,” said Thomas. “It’s a big 35-foot fifth wheel type trailer that’s got office space and strategy rooms. It’s basically a place for incident command staff to operate out of, and it has shelter.”
The Surrey crew of seven left Tuesday night at 7 p.m., and arrived in Williams Lake just after 5 a.m. Wednesday, said Thomas.
Will more engines and firefighters be going up?
“We’ll wait and see,” said Thomas. “They know the equipment we have available, which isn’t extensive because we have a lot of call volume in the city and we can’t abandon our regular business. But we’ll wait and see if they need any more.”
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Thomas said the B.C. wildfires are a reminder of “how vulnerable everyone is to Mother Nature.”
“You’re really at the mercy of what the winds do and the weather does…. Usually it’s more isolated but it’s all over the place. I guess we’re all just hoping for rain without lightning.”
Requests have started to come to local fire departments for help in the Cariboo and Interior regions, where highways are closed, houses have burned, and towns such as 100 Mile House have been evacuated.
More than 300 out-of-province firefighters have been called in to help fight the fires, as well as 340 RCMP officers from B.C. and Alberta.
The BC Wildfire Service is also recruiting additional air support – 1o firefighting aircraft have been brought in from other Canadian provinces, including seven airtankers and three “birddog” aircraft.
Donation opportunities to help those displaced by the wildfires are springing up. BC Liquor Stores announced Monday that customers can donate at the till, in increments of $2, $5, or multiples thereof, with all proceeds going directly to the Red Cross.
The funds are to help the evacuees with needs such as food, shelter, and water.
-With files from Black Press