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Resourcing of B.C. wildfires different than it was a few years ago, minister says

To date, 1,453 fires have sparked in the province since the start of the fire season April 1.
The White Rock Lake wildfire from Fintry Beach looking at Killiney Beach.

B.C. may never get to the point where crews of 8,000 to 12,000 firefighters are on the ground fighting blazes similar to those in California or Oregon.

But, Deputy Forests Minister Rick Manwaring says the resourcing that has gone into fighting the hundreds of wildfires burning in the province has been evolving.

During a news briefing on the current situation Tuesday, Manwaring was asked whether the province, working with the knowledge these fires are at least partially due to climate change, will alter the way it resources fires in the future.

Manwaring indicated resourcing through the BC Wildfire Service is very much different than it was just three or four years ago.

Many of the changes came as a result of the Chapman Report, authored following the devastating flood-fire season of 2017.

A number of those recommendations, he says, were made to address the changing conditions around climate change.

"The organization has adapted considerably since 2017. We don't resource based on a five-year average. We have increased air tanker fleets, we have next-generation air tankers operating for the organization today," said Manwaring.

"We've increased our partnerships nationally and internationally so we have the ability to pull resources in situations like this.

"Significant partnerships have been developed in the past few years with the forest industry, our First Nations partners, First Nations' Emergency Services Society and the ranching sector."

Manwaring says this fire season will provide even more insight going into future fire seasons.

To date, 1,453 fires have sparked in the province since the start of the fire season April 1. More than 650,000 hectares have burned.

The 10-year average to this point of the season is 905 fires and 140,000 hectares of forest burned.

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