(Cariboo Wildfires 2017 Information and Safety)

More international help on way to fight B.C. wildfires

Crews arrived from the U.S. last weekend, while 108 personnel from Mexico are on their way

More international fire crews are en route to B.C. to help fight the continuing battle against wildfires in the south and central Interior.

In his daily update on Tuesday, chief fire information officer Kevin Skrepnek said 108 personnel from Mexico are set to arrive this week in the province, and about 27 firefighters arrived over the weekend from the U.S.

The BC Wildfire Service put in a request for more help as national support begins to ebb. Skrepnek said other provinces are preparing to deal with their own wildfires. Ontario asked for crews from Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan as part of ta cross-border Great Lakes forest fire agreement.

“They’re certainly not new to fighting fires” in this part of the country, Skrepnek said, as some have helped Alberta in previous years.

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There have been 840 fires across B.C. since April 1, with 138 active wildfires burning.

As the weather remains status quo of dry and hot, Skrepnek reported that 14 new fires had broken out Monday. Firefighting costs for the 460,000 hectares that have burned so far this season have exceeded $188 million.

The roughly 130 international personnel join close to 4,000 crew members already working across B.C. Of those, 761 are also out of province, while 1,500 are contractors. The ground crews are supported by nearly 200 aircraft.

RELATED: Elephant Hill firefighters make use of northerly winds

The biggest fire and ongoing challenge for crews remains the Elephant Hill fire, near Cache Creek.

Five hundred personnel are focusing on this blaze, which Skrepnek describes as aggressive. It currently stands at 84,000 hectares burned and is still only 30-per-cent contained.

A dedicated tip line was activated for the Elephant Hill fire Monday, as RCMP continue to investigate the cause.


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ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

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