BANFF – Three members of Banff National Park’s fire management team have been deployed to neighbouring British Columbia as wildfires continue burning across the province.
Banff’s Alex Jones, Kristyn Flanagan and Nathan Young are part of a 25-person fire management squad Parks Canada has sent to help the B.C. Wildfire Service protect communities under threat.
“Three specialists will be travelling from Banff National Park, two from Jasper National Park and one from Kootenay National Park,” said Claudia Crépeault, a spokesperson for Parks Canada.
As of July 11, there were about 300 wildfires burning in B.C., including 23 known new human-caused fires and 20 known new lightning-sparked fires that were discovered on July 10.
There are about 25 wildfires of note, which mean they are either highly visible or pose a potential threat to public safety. These include the new fire threatening homes at Okanagan Falls fire and devastating fire that destroyed the village of Lytton.
“These recent days have been a very harsh reminder that even as we fight climate change, we must also adapt to its effects,” said Jonathan Wilkinson, the federal minister of environment and climate change, whose portfolio includes Parks Canada.
“The government of Canada is pleased to be contributing 25 of Parks Canada’s highly trained wildland fire management specialists to assist in managing the wildfires occurring in British Columbia and Alberta.”
The deployment to B.C. is being coordinated through the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre (CIFFC). As a member of CIFFC, Parks sent crews to B.C. during the 2010, 2015, 2017 and 2018 wildfire seasons.
This year, the agency has sent fire management specialists, including incident management personnel and wildland firefighters. Two Parks Canada fire specialists have also been working with crews in Alberta since July 4.
Seven wildland firefighters will be doing initial attacks on new fires, and the incident management personnel will take over management of one of the B.C. fires. This team includes an incident commander and information officer as well as experts in operations, plans, logistics, and finance.
The Parks Canada specialists are travelling from Kootenay, Banff, Jasper, Prince Albert, Riding Mountain, Mount Revelstoke, Point Pelee, La Mauricie, Bruce Peninsula, Waterton Lakes and Elk Island National Parks and Parks Canada’s national office.
Parks Canada is the only federal organization that is an operational wildfire management organization with similar roles and capabilities as any provincial or territorial wildfire agency.
The federal agency provided wildland fire management specialists to support fire fighting efforts in Australia in 2019-20 and the western United States in 2020.
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