Over the next eight days, firefighters from Mexico and Quebec will be arriving in British Columbia to assist the BC Wildfire Service in battling hundreds of active wildfires.
The 20-person unit from Quebec arrives today, while 100 firefighters from Mexico are expected to arrive in Abbotsford on Saturday, July 24.
“We’re deploying all available resources to respond to hundreds of wildfires across the province, and will continue to do everything possible to protect communities,” said Mike Farnworth, minister of public safety.
“We are grateful for firefighters from Mexico and Quebec who will help strengthen our wildfire response and protect British Columbians.”
Agency representatives will accompany the firefighters from both locations and a COVID-19 safety officer will be coming from Mexico as well.
All of the firefighters arriving in BC will live and work in operational bubbles apart from BC crews to minimize COVID-19 risks.
When the out-of-province firefighters arrive, they’ll be deployed to work on wildfires in the Interior under the direction of the BCWS, with strict COVID-19 protocols in place.
The Mexican firefighters will be tested for the virus prior to leaving their country and again upon arrival in BC.
They’ll also be offered COVID-19 vaccinations before being deployed in BC, the provincial government said.
“We appreciate the firefighting assistance we’re receiving from other Canadian provinces and from Mexico,” said Katrine Conroy, minister of forests.
“These crews are a welcome addition to our own firefighters and contractors, who are working extremely hard to help keep BC communities safe.”