British Columbia is grappling with extreme wildfires that have intensified recently. These fires have devastated communities, forcing evacuations, destroying homes, and damaging crucial infrastructure. Currently, over 370 fires are active in the province, and they have consumed more than 1.75 million hectares. This figure greatly exceeds the average for the season.
Federal Backing Steps Up
On August 25, Harjit S. Sajjan, the President of the King’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Emergency Preparedness, approved British Columbia’s third Request for Federal Assistance. This move came shortly after another assistance approval on August 19. As a response, Bill Blair, the Minister of National Defence, sanctioned the deployment of Canadian Armed Forces personnel. These troops will support in planning, coordination, and type III firefighting operations. These specific operations aim to spot and tackle hotspots and manage areas impacted by the fires.
National Collaboration in Action
Canada’s Government Operations Centre has taken a leading role. They work closely with federal and provincial partners. Their aim? To ensure an efficient and coordinated response to British Columbia’s wildfire crisis.
Communities Under Siege
Throughout the province, communities are facing the brunt of these raging wildfires. Many locals have experienced immense losses, both material and emotional. Harjit S. Sajjan expressed his gratitude, saying, “I want to thank all the firefighters, first responders, Canadian Armed Forces members, emergency management officials, and local volunteers. Their tireless efforts in protecting communities are commendable.”
Bill Blair added to this sentiment, noting, “During this challenging wildfire season, our Armed Forces have shown dedication. We now support British Columbia in firefighting operations. We promise to provide necessary support during this critical period.”
Quick Glimpse: The Current Scenario
- This season has seen three Requests for Federal Assistance from British Columbia.
- Soldiers from 3 Canadian Division’s reserve brigade groups are aiding British Columbia.
- “Operation LENTUS” is the term when Canadian Armed Forces respond to Canadian natural disasters.