In response to a request from the Province of British Columbia, the Courtenay Fire Department has sent equipment and four firefighters to Williams Lake, B.C. in the province’s Central Interior. The crew from Courtenay departed on Wednesday morning with a pumper truck and a small pickup truck, and will assist in the fight against wildfires burning in the region.
The Province of B.C. declared a state of emergency last Friday evening. The state of emergency grants the province special authority to request assistance for emergency response efforts.
Acting Courtenay Fire Chief Kurt MacDonald said the province had made earlier inquiries with the Courtenay Fire Department about potential available resources.
“We had been anticipating a formal request at some point,” said MacDonald. “Once we were asked for assistance, we worked as quickly as possible to send the requested equipment and crews to Williams Lake to support the emergency response effort,” said MacDonald.
Of primary concern is the need to maintain adequate fire protection for the City of Courtenay and its Fire Protection Districts.
“The safety of our community is of course our top priority,” noted MacDonald. “We’ll be working very carefully to manage our own equipment and crew levels to ensure we have enough boots on the ground here in Courtenay to ensure we can continue providing the level of service our community needs.”
Declarations of provincial states of emergency are issued by the minister responsible under the Emergency Program Act. The last provincial declaration of state of emergency was issued in August 2003 to deal with wildfires.