White Rock firefighters are joining the ranks of those fighting wildfires around B.C.
As of Sunday morning, members of White Rock Fire Rescue were deployed to assist in provincial wildfire-fighting efforts.
Chief Phil Lemire told Peace Arch News Monday that a three-member unit had been sent to a staging centre in Kelowna for easier deployment, as and when needed.
A deputy has also been sent to the Provincial Regional Emergency Operations Centre, based in Prince George, he said.
“We could potentially send more, but that’s the one available unit we do have,” Lemire said.
He added that the unit was requested by the office of the Fire Commissioner and Emergency Management BC, on the basis of information provided earlier this year by White Rock Fire Rescue.
“Fire departments are usually asked what resources they may have available in the spring (for wildfire fighting), so the commissioner’s office knows what’s available when,” he said. “Many other municipalities have been called on since July 1, when things started to escalate. (The commissioner’s office) is working their way through their list.”
A month later, there’s still a good chance that the White Rock unit will be directly involved in firefighting efforts in the field, Lemire said.
“It comes down to what they’re doing,” he added, noting that municipal departments’ units are typically called in to assist with protecting town and city structures, such as happened earlier in the month in Williams Lake.
According to B.C. Wildfire Service figures, 133 wildfires were still burning as of Monday morning.
“Conditions in the interior are at an extreme, particularly with the current hot weather advisory we’re all getting,” Lemire said. “It’s not going to diminish any time soon.”
According to a City of White Rock news release Sunday afternoon, the city has also been providing emergency social services staff to the evacuee reception centre in Chilliwack for the past week.
White Rock Fire Rescue and the city will continue to assist in wildfire fighting and evacuee services wherever it can, the press release said.
“It’s not like we have an abundance of resources, but it’s good to be able to assist in this where we can,” Lemire said.