BC Wildfire Service ready for action on the Island

  • Jul. 13, 2017 1:30 a.m.

The BC Wildfire Service is fully prepared to respond quickly to any wildfire activity in the Coastal Fire Centre, which includes Vancouver Island.

Although some resources are being deployed to the Interior to help fight the large fires there, sufficient firefighters and equipment will remain in the region to maintain a first response capability locally.

At this time, every fire zone within the Coastal Fire Centre has its initial attack crews on maximum standby readiness. When fires are detected, these crews are matched up with helicopters to ensure a fast and efficient response to these incidents.

The Coastal Fire Centre strives to “hit hard and hit fast” to keep all reported fires at a small size. To enable crews to get to any fire quickly, their equipment is pre-loaded in the helicopters so they can be on their way quickly.

Firefighting contract crews have also been pre-positioned within the Coastal Fire Centre to assist with wildfire response where necessary.

The BC Wildfire Service appreciates the public’s help in reporting and preventing wildfires. To report a wildfire or open burning violation, call 1 800 663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on a cellphone.

For the latest information on current wildfire activity, burning restrictions, road closures and air quality advisories, visit the BC Wildfire Service website: www.bcwildfire.ca

You can also follow the latest wildfire news on:

* Twitter: http://twitter.com/BCGovFireInfo

* Facebook: http://facebook.com/BCForestFireInfo

Quick Facts:

* Initial attack firefighters operate as three-person crews and are usually the first on the scene of a new fire. Once at the fire, the crews set up water pumps, remove fuel from the fire’s path using chainsaws, pulaskis or shovels and dig fire guards to contain and help extinguish the blaze.

* Theses crews are self-sufficient and can remain on a fire for up to 24 hours without re-supply.

* Sometimes during hot, dry and windy conditions, a fire can grow quickly and additional firefighting resources may have to be deployed. These types of incidents require “sustained action” and this is where the 20-person unit crews come in. Once on site, these larger crews will set up pumps, establish hose lines, dig fire guards, use chainsaws to fell trees in the fire’s path and burn off forest fuels.

* A unit crew can also be broken up into smaller groups, depending on the nature of the fire activity.

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