KAMLOOPS — Days after a group of firefighters left for Ontario to help with wildfire efforts in that province, another crew left from Kamloops on Wednesday for Quebec, where there are 60 active fires in what's being called an 'unusually brutal' wildfire season there.
A quiet fire season in the Southern Interior is helping facilitate that. At this time last year, B.C. firefighters were busy putting out massive fires here, including the Elephant Hill wildfire that sparked on the Ashcroft reserve.
It looks much different now, however, and so the firefighters are lending a hand.
"Each province has their year, and obviously B.C.'s was last year," said unit crew leader Kane Wyatt who left for Quebec. "Now Quebec is pretty hot at the moment, so it's always nice to help out other provinces."
There are 100 firefighters going to Quebec, adding to the 45 already in Ontario. Late Wednesday, the province announced another 15 firefighters were being deployed to Sudbury, Ontario, and another 40 to Val-d'Or, Quebec to add more manpower.
"All of our firefighters are trained nationally, which is why we're able to share those resources," said fire information officer Kyla Fraser. "Last year B.C. faced a terrible wildfire season and we really appreciated the help we got from other provinces, including Ontario and Quebec, so we're happy to be able to return the favour."
The requests from the east has been for personnel only at this time with air tankers sitting on the tarmac at the airport. At most the firefighters will be there for 19 days, but can be called back anytime.
Closer to home, it's been quiet on the wildfire front. The fire danger rating is low around the Kamloops Fire Centre.
"Right now we're sitting at a low danger rating throughout a good majority of the fire centre. There are some pockets of very low and one moderate in the Lillooet Fire Zone," said fire information officer Nicole Bonnett. "We did see precipitation throughout the fire centre last night at a variety of levels, mostly in the southern half of the fire centre. But we are expecting to move into a little bit of a warmer, drier trend."
There are 12 active fires burning right now within the centre, but all are under control. There have been 124 fires to date this year, and while there are more than the 96 fires at this time last year, the amount of hectares burned is half.
"I know June rains can be a big help for fire behaviour and the potential for fire starts. We've had quite a bit more rain this season than we had last season at this time," noted Bonnett.
However, the forecast has temperatures in the 30s for most of the next two weeks with only one day later in July showing a chance of showers.
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