Minister's statement on wildfires

A helicopter drops water on a wildfire in Peachland, B.C., on Monday September 10, 2012. (Darryl Dyck / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Press release:

Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, has issued the following statement on the current wildfire situation in British Columbia:

"The frequency of wildfire threats our communities are facing is increasing. Fire seasons are starting earlier, lasting longer and the intensity of these fires can be extremely challenging for our crews.

"I want to assure British Columbians that we are deploying all necessary and available personnel and equipment to respond to wildfires across the province. The federal government and the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre are providing firefighting personnel, aircraft support and other assets.

"The Province will continue to do everything possible to protect communities from wildfires and help evacuate British Columbians where necessary. Last night, the Canadian Forces helped evacuate some residents using their aircraft, and we are very grateful for that assistance.

"In many parts of the province, especially the Interior, hot and dry conditions are forecast to persist for the foreseeable future. I know tensions for many are high, given the widespread, damaging fire seasons of recent years. And I know many are seeking ways to lend their support.

"If you are in a community that is under an evacuation alert, or in any community that may be threatened by wildfires this summer, there's a lot you can do to prepare your family before an evacuation. If you don't have an evacuation plan, now is the time to make one. There are a host of guides and supports available on the PreparedBC and Emergency Info BC websites.

"You can also ensure you are following FireSmart principles to keep your property as safe as possible. Trim your trees, cut the grass, clear your gutters - do everything you can to make it more difficult for fire to spread through your property or neighbourhood. You're not only protecting your community; you're also aiding the firefighters who may be called on to protect it.

"For those who have done the work and prepared your property, help your neighbours. We need to work together.

"And make sure you do your homework before travelling through B.C. Make sure your destination and your travel route is safe, and that your travel or presence is not worsening the situation.

"Lastly, and most important, do not undertake any activities that may result in a wildfire. In these conditions, a fire can burn through a community area in a matter of minutes.

"I know that British Columbians are resilient and we will see the other side of this fire season. Take care and stay safe."