The BC Wildfire Services (BCWS) crew from Houston and Burns Lake are fighting wildfires down south in California, alongwith several other crews since September.
As many as 20 crew members from the North have been sent to fight the deadly wildfires blazing in California, United States and the B.C. crew was last pictured in Plumas County during their break from fighting the North Complex fire. According to Nadina Fire Zone Officer Brad Blackwell, of the 20 crew members, 13 are from Burns Lake and Houston crew, two are from the Bulkley Fire Zone, one is from the Skeena Fire Zone, so from Terrace and an additional four are from the Prince George Fire Centre. Alec Phillips is one of those who have been deployed from the Burns Lake crew and it was his father who first told Black Press about the work that the crew from the North is doing in the U.S.
Forrest Tower, who is the spokesperson for the BCWS’ US deployments said that the people from the Burns Lake and Houston area have been deployed to both Oregon and Northern California.
“The personnel in Oregon will be deployed there for another two weeks and BCWS will have resources in California for another three to four weeks, depending on fire activity,” he said.
Tower also gave some additional information on the deployment from the Northern region. For Oregon, one wildfire technician has been deployed from the Burns Lake Zone and for California, seven personnel are from the Burns Lake Unit Crew, two are from the Burns Lake Initial Attack Crew and four personnel from Houston are deployed to California as part of the Houston Initial Attack Crew.
A total of 431 resources have been deployed to United States to fight the wildfires, of which the Northwest Fire Centre has deployed three unit crews totalling 60 personnel. Prince George Fire Centre also deployed three unit crews totalling 60 personnel.
“While in the States, BC crews are remaining in their own bubble and don’t come into contact with American crews. They have separate camp infrastructure i.e. tent area, showers, meals, etc. and do not work directly alongside American firefighters. BCWS crews are doing daily self-assessments and are following strict health and safety guidelines. Upon return to BC, all deployed personnel will quarantine for 14 days,” he said.
Tower also said that any future deployments would come as a result of a request from the U.S. but as of now, there are no outstanding requests and so the crews that are there will most likely be the same and there won’t be any changes or new teams going out there.