British Columbia welcomed around 100 firefighters from Brazil over the weekend to assist in the response to the province’s wildfires.
During a press conference Sunday at the Abbotsford Air Tanker Base, both Bownn Ma, Minister of Emergency Management and Climate Preparedness and the Consulate General of Brazil, Renato Mosca, welcomed the out-of-country firefighters.
“We are incredibly grateful to each and every one of them,” said Ma.
“They will join over 600 out-of-province firefighting resource personnel already here in British Columbia, as well as the 2,000 BC Wildfire personnel that are already fighting fires.”
Currently, there are 480 wildfires burning in the province, with multiple evacuation orders and alerts in effect at this time.
Ma says, with the additional firefighters, the province feels confident about the number of resources it has.
The firefighters landed Friday evening and have been taking part in briefings and are being deployed to the Prince George Fire Centre.
Mosca praised the relationship Brazil has with Canada and says Brazil has much to contribute during the wildfire season.
“The bilateral relationship with Canada has always been one of the friendliest,” said Mosca. “I’m convinced that this cooperation between our great nations is one important step to control wildfires in British Columbia.”
Sailor Tim Shaddock leaves dog Bella behind in Mexico after surviving months at sea
‘An entire province praying’ for safe return of 4 missing people from floods: N.S. premier
Ma says this is the first time firefighters from Brazil have come to B.C. to assist in fire suppression efforts.
So far this year, British Columbia has seen 1.48 million hectares of forest burned, with the vast majority of that in the Prince George Fire Centre.
With the province dealing with extremely dry conditions, Ma says one of her and the government’s biggest concerns with this wildfire season is the ongoing drought.
“When it comes to extreme drought, a lot of the impacts of what we forecast will likely not be felt by communities for many weeks yet and there could be medium and long-term consequences of an extreme drought if the land base isn’t replenished by a significant amount of precipitation over the fall and the winter,” said Ma.
“If we do not receive that precipitation then we could enter 2024 in another drought situation.”
© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.