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B.C. government steps up funding ahead of wildfire season

The provincial government is boosting funding to the BC Wildfire Service ahead of what is expected to be another intense season.

B.C. government officials said nearly $16 million has been invested to expand the province’s firefighting aviation and ground fleet and purchase equipment for ground crews.

“As we head into the spring and summer months, we are reminded of last year’s devastating wildfires and the impact they had on people and communities around the province,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Forests. “The impacts of climate change are arriving faster than predicted, and alongside the task force, we are supporting the wildland firefighters who work tirelessly to protect us under the most extreme conditions. By increasing our resources on the ground and in the air, we will have a greater ability to respond to wildfires when and where they happen.”

B.C. government officials said the province will also fund upgrades in other areas.

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“The Province is strengthening its response to wildfire emergencies by expanding the amount of firefighting tools available to crews to provide broader response capabilities and keep people and communities as safe as possible,” said B.C. government staff. “Upgrades are being made to firefighting equipment and fire camp infrastructure, which are critical to the safety and well-being of wildland firefighters.”

The investments come ahead of this year’s fire season.

“I am impressed with the rapid work of the Province to put needed additional firefighting resources in service for this year,” said Thom Porter, task force member and former director of CAL Fire. “The dry winter emphasizes the need for securing these resources is here now.”

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