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Out-of-province fire crews, armed forces, heading to B.C. to help with wildfires

Last Updated Jul 5, 2021 at 8:46 pm PDT

Courtesy: Twitter/@BCGovFireInfo

Firefighting teams from Ontario and New Brunswick are arriving in British Columbia to assist with devastating wildfires.

The BC Wildfire Service says the nearly 100 out-of-province members must pass COVID-19 safety checks before being sent into the field.

Public Safety Canada also says it has committed the Armed Forces for airlift support to carry crews, supplies and equipment in and out of fire zones and to assist with emergency evacuations if needed.

The wildfire service says 196 active wildfires are currently burning in B.C., with at least 40 sparked over the weekend.

Evacuation orders are in place because of five of those wildfires, including one near Lytton, where a fire that destroyed much of the village last Wednesday covers 76 square kilometres but didn’t grow significantly Sunday.

Separate fires north of Kamloops and east of 100 Mile House have also forced hundreds of people from their homes and prompted evacuation alerts for hundreds more.

A non-profit agency that co-ordinates interprovincial aid and resources warns more difficult days lie ahead in B.C.

“Anticipating multiple fire starts each day over the next (three) days,” says the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre in its report issued Sunday.

Environment Canada is maintaining heat warnings for several B.C. regions, including areas where many of the most threatening wildfires continue to burn.

Daytime highs of 35 C and nighttime lows barely falling below 20 C increase the risk of wildfires due to drought conditions, says the weather office.

Lightning is in Monday’s forecast for many of the at-risk regions, with a chance of showers.

The weather agency predicts the heat wave that began last month will continue at least through Monday night.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 5, 2021.

The Canadian Press