British Columbia

Province trying to manage firefighter exhaustion as wildfires rage in B.C.

The fire situation in the B.C. Interior may have calmed down slightly in recent days — but the province is worried about firefighter burnout because wildfire season is only just getting started.

Crews from other provinces should bring relief, fire service says

Firefighters take a breather while battling an out-of-control wildfire near Princeton, B.C., on Monday. (Peter Scobie/CBC)

The fire situation in the B.C. Interior may have calmed down slightly in recent days — but the province is worried about firefighter burnout because wildfire season is only just getting started.

It's been a non-stop week for crews across the Interior, battling hundreds of wildfires that have already forced about 14,000 people out of their homes.

Kevin Skrepnek, the province's chief fire information officer, says the province is trying to manage the hours crews put in to avoid exhaustion.

"We do have safe work standards that we adhere to," Skrepnek said. "Crews are generally in good shape right now."

But with a hot, dry week in the forecast and a fire season expected to continue throughout the summer, that could quickly change.

"If we continue at this pace, we could certainly be in for a long summer, and we are cognizant of that," Skrepnek said.

The province has already brought in about 300 personnel from across the country. Skrepnek says more crews are expected to arrive in the coming weeks.

With files from Richard Zussman.

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