BC Wildfires: Australian Fire Crews Lend a Hand

July 19, 2017 Updated: July 19, 2017

KAMLOOPS, B.C.—Fifty experts from Australia arrived in Vancouver on July 19 to help with the wildfire battle in British Columbia’s central and southern Interior.

Fire information officer Navi Saini says they’ll put the Australians where the need is greatest, taking advantage of their expertise in equipment, technology, and logistical support.

The experts arrive as 155 wildfires burn across the province and more than 45,000 people are forced from their homes. Apart from concerns for their property, many evacuees are also worried about the pets and livestock they left behind.

RCMP Staff Sergeant Annie Linteau says officers took a man into custody after finding him in an evacuation zone trying to feed a friend’s pet—an issue she says could have been avoided if the owners followed procedure and contacted their regional government for help.

The Cariboo Regional District says the B.C. SPCA is also increasing its efforts to rescue or care for animals left behind in evacuated areas, and they’re encouraging residents to contact the SPCA if they need help.

Meanwhile, fire bans are in place in many areas of Alberta as hot, dry conditions raise the risk of wildfires.  One of the bans announced by the Alberta government is for a protected area that stretches along the foothills and mountains in the province’s southwest.

No fires, including in campgrounds, are allowed. But stoves, barbecues, and portable fire pits powered by gas or propane are permitted.

Banff and Jasper national parks also have fire bans in place, as do Kootenay and Yoho across the boundary in British Columbia. A wildfire on the B.C. side has closed parts of Banff and Kootenay national parks.

From The Canadian Press