British Columbia

B.C. sends more crews to Alberta wildfires

The B.C. government is ramping up the amount of firefighting resources it is sending to northern Alberta to fight the wild fires that recently destroyed the town of Slave Lake.
Over a thousand people were ordered to leave their homes on Sunday when strong winds fanned two separate wildfires that burned on either side of a northern Alberta town of Slave Lake (Ian Jackson/Canadian Press)

The B.C. government is ramping up the amount of firefighting resources it is sending to northern Alberta to fight the wildfires that recently destroyed the town of Slave Lake.

The province is mobilizing another 200 firefighters, plus a 23-member incident management team, two helicopter co-ordinators, two agency representatives and two air tanker groups consisting of three air tankers and two bird dog aircraft.

The new resources will add to the 130 forest firefighters sent to northern Alberta on Monday to help crews struggling to control roughly one hundred forest fires.

The entire town of Slave Lake, located 250 kilometres northwest of Edmonton, was evacuated Sunday when wind-whipped wildfires suddenly turned and blazed through town, destroying more than a third of its homes, along with the town hall and government centre.

The Slave Lake fire destroyed more than a third of the town's homes, along with the town hall and government centre.

The crews will be based in Hinton, where they will be deployed by Alberta officials and the cost will be paid by the Alberta government. Crews from Ontario have also been sent to fight the fires.

Currently the fire danger rating for much of B.C. is very low, but Steve Thomson, the Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations said the situation in Alberta should remind B.C. residents to be prepared for the coming fire season in B.C.

"The devastation around Slave Lake and outlying communities is a graphic reminder of what wildfires can do. I urge British Columbians to educate themselves on how to prevent wildfires and consider their own preparedness in case of an emergency," said Thomson.

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