Ottawa deploys 200 troops to B.C. to help with wildfire fight

Ottawa is sending in the Armed Forces as B.C. deals with yet another destructive wildfire season that’s forced thousands of people out of their homes.

The provincial government made a formal request for help Monday, and the federal government has already responded with a pledge of 200 troops, as well as aircraft to help move people and supplies.

“We’re bringing in the additional resources we need to keep people and communities as safe as possible,” B.C. Forests Minister Doug Donaldson said in a press release.

“I thank the federal government and the Canadian Armed Forces for their assistance, and also ask British Columbians to do their part by following burning bans to prevent human-caused fires.”

When the troops arrive, they’ll help with mopping up and patrolling fires that have already been contained, under the supervision of the B.C. Wildfire Service. Aircraft will assist by moving crews to new fires, bringing supplies to fire camps and evacuating people from remote areas.

As of Monday morning, more than 3,400 firefighters and support workers from across the country and around the world were battling about 600 wildfires in B.C. More than 2,876 square kilometres of the province has burned, and a total of 3,100 people have been ordered to leave their homes.

The announcement of reinforcements from the federal government follows another busy weekend for firefighters, when nearly 150 new fires were ignited by lightning strikes.

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