B.C.’s fire personnel are once again in demand elsewhere, and the Kamloops Fire Centre region can afford to send a few as the region remains relatively quiet.

“Considering the current and forecasted provincial fire situation, sufficient personnel and resources remain in B.C. to respond appropriately to any fire activity,” said Fionna Tollovsen, provincial fire information officer.

The entire Kamloops region is on a moderate fire hazard rating with the exception of Merritt and Vernon, which are at a high risk.

June and July rains have kept the region safe, but an anticipated prolonged hot and dry weather will likely boost the hazard rating in the coming days, said Kamloops fire information officer Kayla Pepper.

Only West Kelowna remains a hub of activity with 70 firefighters and four helicopters attacking 27 hectares of flames. On Tuesday, that incident, which started with a lightning strike on Saturday, was 75 per cent contained.

Meanwhile, the Wildfire Management Branch sent 23 personnel to the Fort Smith, NWT, on Monday to help battle blazes in the north.

More than 225,600 hectares have burned in the Northwest Territories this year, leading officials to ask for help through the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre.

Earlier this month, a wildfire burning just outside Fort Smith that began in Alberta scared residents who thought they might have to leave town. But the call for evacuation never came.

There are 500 unit crew firefighters stationed at 30 bases around B.C. They can be deployed for up to 19 days, but can be recalled at any time.

It’s the fifth out-of-province deployment this year. Personnel were previously sent to Manitoba, Quebec, Ontario and Colorado.

Costs associated with the deployment will be covered by the receiving jurisdictions under the Mutual Aid Resources Sharing Agreement, which allows for the movement of firefighting resources throughout Canada.

Anyone spotting smoke or flames is asked to call 1 800 663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on a cellphone.


Source:  The Kamloops Daily News