B.C., federal officials to discuss wildfire response as hot, dry conditions persist

By Martin MacMahon, Hana Mae Nassar, and The Canadian Press

It’s already been a volatile and difficult wildfire season in B.C. With further challenges expected in the weeks and months ahead, B.C. and federal leaders are set to meet Monday to discuss support and logistics.

A statement from B.C.’s Ministry of Emergency Management says the meeting will focus on plans for deploying federal resources after the province requested help in the fight.

It says two military reconnaissance teams were deployed Sundfay, with a “land force team” arriving at the ministry’s emergency operations centre in Prince George and an air force team bound for the BC Wildfire co-ordination centre in Kamloops.

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The ministry says the teams are conducting assessments that will inform deployment plans for additional federal resources to come.

Monday’s meeting will include Public Safety Canada, the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), as well as provincial representatives in emergency management and the wildfire service.

The conversation comes as nearly 400 wildfires burn across the province. More than 20 are considered highly visible, threatening or potentially damaging “wildfires of note.”

“Firefighters and emergency management personnel in British Columbia are working tirelessly to manage the wildfires,” Canada Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair said in a tweet Friday afternoon.

The approval for military support came just a day after B.C. Emergency Management Minister Bowinn Ma announced she was in talks with her federal counterpart to bring more equipment and people into the province.

In addition to the military and other resources, B.C. crews are also working alongside teams from the U.S., Mexico, New Zealand, and Australia.

Meanwhile, as hot and dry conditions persist across virtually all parts of the province, the weather won’t necessarily be providing crews with any relief.

Though there is some precipitation in the forecast to start the week in some parts, CityNews Meteorologist Michael Kuss admits it’s not nearly enough.

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