British Columbia dispatches 22 firefighters from Kamloops to help Manitoba battle wildfires, has recouped C$27M so far this fire season from sending personnel out of province

VICTORIA, British Columbia , October 7, 2011 (press release) – Twenty-two firefighting personnel from Kamloops leave Saturday, Oct. 8 to help Manitoba battle a challenging wildfire situation.

Seven, three-person initial attack crews, plus one agency representative, will depart for Bissett on the east side of Lake Winnipeg. Crews can be deployed for up to 14 days plus travel time.

Costs for the deployment will be covered by the Manitoba government under the Mutual Aid Resources Sharing Agreement, which allows for the movement of firefighting resources across Canada.

In addition to this deployment, one airtanker group and one air attack officer, who is replaced every 14 days, continue to assist the U.S. Forest Service fight wildfires in Austin, Texas.

To date, B.C. has recovered approximately $27 million from sending 2,051 personnel out-of-province this fire season.

Quick Facts:

So far this year, the distance logged during ground deployments to Alberta and Washington equals the number of kilometres required to circumnavigate the globe four times.

Deployments provide B.C. crews with ongoing experience and training during the slowest fire season on record since 1954. With this latest deployment, a total of 2,073 B.C. personnel will have been sent out-of-province this year.

Agency representatives act as the link between the deployed crews and the Wildfire Management Branch.

Current wildfire information in Manitoba is available at: http://www.gov.mb.ca/conservation/fire/index.html

Report smoke and flames by calling *5555 on mobile phones or 1 800 663-5555.

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