Thunder Bay

Northern Ontario firefighters en route to help fight B.C. wildfires

Firefighters and other personnel charged with battling wildfires in northern Ontario are heading west to help with efforts to combat blazes raging in British Columbia.

Natural resources ministry says 140 personnel to be deployed

A wildfire burns on a mountain in the distance, east of Cache Creek, B.C., in the early morning hours of Monday July 10, 2017. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press) (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

Firefighters and other personnel charged with battling wildfires in northern Ontario are heading west to help with efforts to combat blazes raging in British Columbia, according to Ontario's natural resources ministry.

"Fire rangers will be assigned to forest fires out in British Columbia and will help with the actual suppression of forest fires," Jonathan Scott, a spokesperson with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry in northwestern Ontario, told CBC News.

"Support staff will help with supporting managing forest fire incidents and also supporting logistics and communications," he added.

In total, about 140 people will be sent from fire bases across northern Ontario starting on Tuesday, Scott said, adding that he's not yet sure exactly where they will be stationed, or which blazes firefighters will be assigned to.

Out-of-province deployments usually last approximately two to three weeks, he said.
A wildfire near Princeton in the B.C. Interior quickly burned through the dry vegetation. (Peter Scobie/CBC)

Over 10,000 people were forced from their homes in B.C., as of Monday morning, with firefighters in the province using all resources to contain over 130 wildfires that are burning.

Ontario isn't sending any aircraft out west yet, Scott added.

Kathryn McGarry, Ontario's Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry said, even with the deployments, the province has enough personnel remaining at home in case fire activity flares up.

"The ministry has assessed Ontario's wildland fire risk and has the resources at hand to ensure the necessary assistance for communities should we start to experience an escalating situation here in Ontario," she was quoted as saying in a written statement.

Shifting weather out west, including changes in wind, could worsen the current situation, according to experts.

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