The Wildfire Management Branch has sent additional firefighting personnel and resources to Alaska to assist with wildfire suppression efforts there.
This deployment includes three three-person rappel crews, a helicopter operations technician, 10 parattack firefighters and an agency representative. The personnel arrived in Alaska on Sunday evening and all other resources arrived on Monday morning.
These personnel and resources are in addition to one airtanker group (consisting of two airtankers, one birddog aircraft and one air attack officer) that was sent to Alaska earlier in June. In total, there are now four fixed-wing aircraft, one helicopter and 21 personnel from B.C. stationed in Alaska.
Considering the current and forecasted fire situation in B.C., sufficient personnel and resources remain in the province to respond appropriately to any fire activity. Crews can be deployed out-of-province for up to 19 days, but they can be recalled at any time.
Both requests for assistance were made through the Northwest Compact Agreement, which allows for mutual resource sharing with Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Alaska, Yukon, the Northwest Territories, Alberta and Saskatchewan. All associated costs are covered by the jurisdiction that requests the resources.
Another 77 firefighters and an agency representative are currently deployed in Alberta, but are expected to return to B.C. on Wednesday.
Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Steve Thomson -
“British Columbia’s firefighters and support personnel are recognized worldwide for their professionalism and expertise. We are pleased to offer assistance to other provinces and countries whenever we can do so.”
- Rapattack crews consist of three rapattack firefighters who use helicopters and rope rappelling techniques to access remote areas and attack fires while they are still small.
- An air attack officer is an experienced wildland firefighter with knowledge of both air attack techniques and ground attack strategies. An air attack officer assesses the wildfire and directs airtankers to the most effective locations for fire suppressant drops.
- An agency representative acts as the link between deployed crews and the Wildfire Management Branch.
For the latest information on fire activity, conditions and prohibitions in B.C., visit: www.bcwildfire.ca
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Fire Information Officer
Wildfire Management Branch
Provincial Wildfire Coordination Centre