More than 100 Ontario firefighters arrived in Edmonton on Saturday to help battle the blazes ravaging areas across Alberta.
The firefighters will be in the province for about 19 days helping fight the wildfires burning west of Nordegg, near the Banff National Park border as well as the Red Deer Creek fire on the border of British Columbia and Alberta.
The Red Deer Creek fire is now nearly 35,000 hectares in size. Last week, the fire prompted an evacuation order in the Municipal District of Greenview.
Courtney Askin has been to British Columbia and other parts of Canada to fight wildfires, but this will be her first time battling in Alberta. She said it can be nerveracking when you first arrive.
“You’re definitely nervous, especially if you’re in the crew ranks and actually working on the fire line,” she said. “It’s daunting for sure until you get into the groove.”
For Matthew Krummenacher, it’s not only his first time battling a fire in Alberta — it’s his first time dealing with a wildfire.
“This is my first time, my first year on the job,” he said. Krummenacher said he has “no idea” what to expect, but he’s “hoping it’s going to be fun.”
Whitney Exton, a wildfire information officer, said sharing firefighters across the country is standard business practice.
“We actually have agreements in place all across North America,” she said. “We send firefighters out and bring them in almost every year.”
The task at hand will not necessarily be an easy one.
“Wildfires that tend to get this big take a long time to extinguish,” Exton said.
“They get really big and it’s a lot of work. What [the firefighters] have to do is patrol every piece of the wildfire to make sure there is no activity and every little bit of it is out.”