Nanaimo firefighters are joining firefighters from across the province to battle wildfires in the B.C. Interior.
Karen Fry, Nanaimo Fire Rescue chief, said the city received the order from the B.C. Fire Commissioner’s office late Tuesday, the crew and vehicles were prepared for the trip Wednesday and the team got on the road Thursday morning.
“They’re probably arriving on scene shortly. They left yesterday,” Fry said. “It’s a captain and three firefighters.”
The crew was sent to the Shovel Lake fire, the largest currently burning in the province, with one fire truck and a support vehicle. The Nanaimo firefighters are expected to be gone for seven to 10 days before they return and, if needed, another crew will be rotated back to the fire area, near Vanderhoof and Fort St. James.
Three crews and city emergency social services staff were sent to major B.C. wildfire areas last year.
She said the deployment won’t hinder Nanaimo Fire Rescue’s firefighting ability. Nanaimo firefighters have also just received training to fight wild land fires.
“All of our crews have completed some updated wild land training, so that’s really good,” Fry said. “They have to go up and they have to be self-sufficient for a short period of time because they never know if they’re going to be moved in to … tent sites or if they’ll get accommodation. It really depends on where they get moved around. Several of our crews last year started at one site and then were moved to different locations depending on where the greatest need was.”
A North Cedar Fire Department crew had previously been deployed to the Interior. The truck and firefighters left Wednesday, according to the department’s Facebook page, and spent the day Thursday working to protect homes and structures at Fraser Lake.
“Pretty proud of our department and members as well as those throughout the province,” reads a post from the North Cedar Fire Department.