VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The fight against wildfires in our province continues, this time with some help from firefighters in Vancouver.
Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services has sent staff to Fort St James, as the province deals with nearly 600 fires across BC.
Assistant Fire Chief John Zacharuk says the call for help came in on Wednesday, after BC was placed under a state of emergency because of the wildfires.
“We were requested by the office of the fire commissioner to have a crew available to go up and support the fire fighting efforts. They desperately needed our apparatus as well as our firefighters. They’ve requested that for a number of other Lower Mainland departments.”
He says along with firefighters, trucks and equipment are desperately needed as resources are stretched to the limit.
“We sent our truck, our engine with hose and pumps on it. We are sending those out with flat trucks. Our crew of eight personnel will be put on the job for 8 a.m. Friday morning. I know they’re strapped for firefighters and personnel. I also know they are requesting we provide our firetrucks as well to pump water and protect some of their structures. That’s what I understand we are doing up there.”
Zacharuk says there’s no shortage of volunteers in Vancouver.
“All our people are more than willing to put their hand up and go. We have a number of people who are lining up and wanting to go. No one has turned this down. They all want a chance to go and to help out. When they see the stories, they see people losing their homes, their livelihoods…we are more than willing to help and offer all our assistance.”
So far eight firefighters are deployed for a total of five days, and then another crew will be sent in to provide relief.
“After each five days of work is done, we will send up another eight people, as long as we are required to by the province.”
Zacharuk says he’s his expected his crews to be called out for at least two weeks, as no change in weather is expected.
“What I’ve heard, it’s going to be at least another ten days or two weeks of this type of weather, with no change in sight. That’s what we are looking at.”