International, national wildfire crews head to B.C. – CBC.ca

Nearly 5,000 properties remain under evacuation order and more than 16,000 are under evacuation alert over the weekend as hundreds of fires burn across the province, some fuelled by consistently warm temperatures and strong winds.

wildfires bc 20210724

Firefighters from Mexico walk across the tarmac after arriving on a charter flight in Abbotsford, B.C., on Saturday to help the province deal with hundreds of wildfires. They will undergo rapid COVID-19 testing and then be deployed to the B.C. Interior. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

The British Columbia government welcomed 100 firefighters from Mexico on Saturday to help combat hundreds of wildfires raging across the province.

B.C. Public Safety Minister and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth greeted the Mexican firefighters in Abbotsford and provided an update on the province’s wildfire situation. 

Farnworth said difficult fire conditions will persist in B.C.’s Interior for the foreseeable future, but help is on the way.

“We will see the other side of this fire season,” he said.

The Mexican firefighters will work alongside crews in B.C. for 30 days, Farnworth said. After clearing customs, they were getting rapid tests done for COVID-19 and then heading to the Interior. 

There are currently 3,320 firefighters in B.C., including 94 from out of province.

wildfires bc 20210724

A firefighter from Mexico gives a thumbs up to officials after arriving on a charter flight in Abbotsford, B.C., on Saturday. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

Farnworth said the first contingent of the Canadian Forces wildfire ground crews arrived in Vernon on Friday. He said more will be arriving mid-week, for a total of 350 personnel who will focus on mop-up efforts and putting out hot spots.

Additional crews have also arrived from Alberta, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Quebec and Parks Canada. Details of the deployments are currently being finalized, Farnworth said.

Nearly 5,000 properties remain under evacuation order and more than 16,000 are under evacuation alert over the weekend as hundreds of fires burn across the province, some fuelled by consistently warm temperatures and strong winds.

The B.C. Wildfire Service says there are 258 blazes across the province as of Saturday morning, most of them in the Kamloops fire district in the B.C. Interior.

That’s down from 275 fires reported Friday and about 300 earlier in the week.

‘No relief in sight’

On Thursday, the wildfire service said conditions are extremely dry in the southern half of the province and there is “no relief in sight.”

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen Emergency Operations Centre continues to monitor some wildfires of note in the area, including the Nk’Mip Creek, Thomas Creek and Brenda Creek wildfires near Oliver and Osoyoos.

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A wildfire near Kimmel Creek, close to Valemount, B.C. There are more than 250 wildfires burning across the province as of Saturday. (B.C. Wildfire Service)

On Saturday morning, the district expanded an evacuation order for two properties because of the Nk’Mip Creek wildfire.

The district also said the Osoyoos Indian Band had rescinded an evacuation order and instead issued an evacuation alert for six properties.

Environment Canada has issued a special air-quality statement for nearly a quarter of B.C., in the southeast, because of smoke from the wildfires.