A contingent of Mexican firefighters has been deployed to aid British Columbia’s fire effort.
The 100 fire fighters are the first international crew to come to B.C.’s aid and are expected to arrive in Abbotsford July 24. They will be deployed to work on fires in the Interior under the direction of B.C. Wildfire Service.
Personnel from New Brunswick, Alberta and Quebec are already active in B.C., as well as experts from Parks Canada. Twenty more firefighters from Quebec joined yesterday July 16.
“We appreciate the firefighting assistance we’re receiving from other Canadian provinces and from Mexico,” said Katrine Conroy, B.C. Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development in a press release.
The Mexican firefighters will be tested for COVID-19 upon departure and arrival. They will work and live in operational bubbles, separate from B.C. crews in order to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmissions. They will also be offered access to vaccines.
The cost of bringing in firefighting personnel from other provinces, or countries, is covered by the B.C. government. Incoming firefighters are trained by the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre (CIFFC) to meet Canadian standards before being deployed to where needed most.
“These crews are a welcome addition to our own firefighters and contractors, who are working extremely hard to help keep B.C. communities safe,” said Conroy.
Mexican firefighters have helped B.C. in previous fire seasons and resources are often shared internationally. Similarly, Canadian firefighters where deployed to Australia in early 2020. More international aid seems highly likely as the smoky summer progresses.
“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, B.C. Minister of Public Safety.