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Alberta fire crews provide backup for southern B.C. wildfires

Two unit crews have been sent ahead of inclement weather
Unpredictable wildfire behaviour in British Columbia’s southern Okanagan has forced the evacuation of the entire community of Olalla and an evacuation alert for Keremeos, just a few kilometres to the south. A Unit Crew conducts planned ignitions above Yellow Lake near Olalla this recent handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-BC Wildfire Service

BC Wildfire Service has recruited the help of two unit crews from Alberta as seasonal blazes pick up in the province.

The Alberta Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has deployed 14 firefighters from Grande Prarie, 15 from Whitecourt, an air attack officer from Edmonton and an agent representative from Peace River.

Alberta is also supplying one CL-215T airtanker, also known as a water bomber.

The crews will support fire suppression, burn operations, establishing pump and hose lines and removing fuel and danger trees.

“We have a longstanding tradition of resource sharing with our neighbours to the east. This is possible through our mutual membership with the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre,” BC Wildfire Service said in a Facebook post.

Unit crews are composed of 20 firefighters, and there are normally 30 unit crews spread across B.C., usually deployed for 14 days at a time.

They may work in remote forests or in established fire camps and tend to be deployed to large incidents for long periods of time.

BC Wildfire Service has 1,371 personnel assigned to active wildfires with another 512 on standby. There are currently 83 helicopters and 33 airtankers available.

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