By: Thomas I. Likness
EBC News Service
(Eagle News) — The military will be dispatched to the western Canadian province of British Columbia this week to help bring wildfires there under control, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said Sunday.
“In response to devastating wildfires, we have approved a request for assistance for the province of British Columbia,” Blair said on Twitter. “As climate change leads to more extreme weather events around the world, our government will always be there to keep Canadians safe.”
The military will provide aircraft to move crews around to various parts of the province as needed.
As well, nearly 100 firefighters from Ontario and New Brunswick are expected to arrive Monday to help battle the flames.
A scorching heat wave and lightning strikes have resulted in more than 175 active fires in the province’s forests.
The blazes have already claimed two lives — an elderly couple trapped in their home in the village of Lytton, which was destroyed by fire last Wednesday.
Smoke from the fires is creating a health hazard in many areas.
The elderly, children and those with respiratory problems are being told to stay inside.
What firefighters need the most is rain to dampen the tinder-dry forests.
But rain is a mixed blessing — with it comes lightning which sparks more fires.
For the long term, it looks like there will be no shortage of work for firefighters.
Meteorologists are predicting a long, dry summer.
(Eagle News Service)