Surrey firefighters are not among the 267 B.C. emergency responders being sent to Alberta this week to battle wildfires there.
A BC Wildfire Service bulletin issued Tuesday indicated that on May 23-23 some 230 B.C. firefighters – 10 “attack” crews and 10 unit crews among them – would be sent to our neighbouring province, along with 14 supervisors, three government representatives and a 20-member incident management team.
“We haven’t been called upon to be deployed,” Surrey Fire Chief Len Garis told the Now-Leader on Tuesday. “I’m thinking that they may not be structural forces because I have simply not heard about that. It’s probably forest fire fighting folks as opposed to structural, but I’m just speculating on that.”
Crews can be deployed outside B.C. for up to 19 days but may be recalled at any time, noted Kyla Fraser, fire information officer for the BC Wildlife Service.
“The BC Wildfire Service recognizes the importance of sharing firefighting resources given the invaluable assistance Alberta has provided to B.C. during the last two wildfire seasons, which were the worst in the province’s history,” she noted.
Garis said that in anticipation of the season coming up, Surrey Fire Service has been asked to provide an inventory of resources, “as we normally do,” that might be issued or sent “if called upon, and that’s co-ordinated through the office of the fire commissioner of the province.
“In many cases they normally start with the smaller volunteer departments because they are somewhat more flexible,” Garis noted.