Nova Scotia

'It's a dirty job': N.S. crew off to tackle wildfires in British Columbia

A crew of 21 Nova Scotia firefighters flew to Prince George, B.C., on Monday to help battle hundreds of forest fires burning in that province.

'We just take what they give us, we work our hardest and do the best we can do'

A crew of Lands and Forestry firefighters were at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport on Monday with their gear. They were headed for Prince George, B.C., where they will be deployed to assist with wildfires burning throughout the province. (CBC)

A crew of 21 Nova Scotia firefighters flew to Prince George, B.C., on Monday to help battle hundreds of forest fires burning in that province.

The team is made up of provincial firefighters from the Department of Lands and Forestry, formerly known as the Department of Natural Resources.

Lands and Forestry technician Jamie Brown has made four trips to British Columbia to battle wildfires in the past 17 years. He spoke to reporters at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport early this morning.

Lands and Forestry technician Jamie Brown says firefighters across Canada are always willing to help out in massive wildfires such as the ones in British Columbia.

"It's quite gruelling," he said. "We normally do 12-hour days for 14 straight [days]. There's a lot of heat, a lot of work — it's a dirty job."

Fighting fires in the mountainous region, on steep slopes, can be dangerous, he acknowledged.

The crew from Nova Scotia will be equipped with hand tools to battle the spread of flames, adding "there's not a lot of water use," he said.

Verne Tom photographs a wildfire burning along a logging road approximately 20 kilometres southwest of Fort St. James, B.C., on Aug. 15. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

"We just take what they give us, we work our hardest and do the best we can do."

The assistance is not uncommon and help is given willingly, Brown said.

"There are always people in other provinces willing to step up and we do it on a regular basis."

Nova Scotia Lands and Forestry firefighters prepare to board a plane to Prince George, B.C., on Monday morning. (CBC)

The crew members are from Lands and Forestry offices throughout Nova Scotia. 

There are nearly 600 fires burning across B.C., prompting the government to declare a provincewide state of emergency.

With files from Brett Ruskin

See more articles from CBC Nova Scotia

With files from Brett Ruskin

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