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Alberta firefighters lending a hand

A team of firefighters will suit up and ship out today, bound to battle hundreds of wildfires devouring B.C.’s interior.

A team of firefighters will suit up and ship out today, bound to battle hundreds of wildfires devouring B.C.’s interior.

The deployment comes two months after hundreds of firefighters flooded Alberta forests, where they battled lightning-sparked blazes that burned out of control.

“The situation is much more serious in British Columbia now,” said Sustainable Resource Development spokesman Geoff Driscoll. “They’re quite a bit busier than we were at that time.”

Thousands have been forced from their homes across the coastal province, and over 78,000 hectares has burned since spring.

Up to 150 Alberta firefighters will head west today, leaving Alberta fires burning on a “low to moderate” basis, Driscoll said.

The call for help came earlier this week. After the need for firefighters on Alberta soil was assessed, the group of 150 was given the green light.

Officials credit rain and cooler temperatures for reducing the wildfire hazard here at home.

“We always have a sufficient number of firefighters to respond to any new wildfires, but we don’t anticipate that with the amount of rain we’ve had over the past little while,” Driscoll said.

Since April, nearly 1,300 wildfires have burned more than 64,000 hectares in Alberta.

Premier Ed Stelmach assured British Columbians yesterday that help is on the way.

“Alberta is ready to lend firefighting resources to help our neighbours in a time of extreme wildfire activity and hazard in B.C.,” he said.

 
 
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