Salt Spring firefighters deployed in B.C. wildfire efforts

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Salt Spring Island Fire Rescue has responded to a request for assistance from the Office of the Fire Commissioner by sending two island firefighters to help with northern B.C. wildfire efforts.

According to a fire department press release issued Sunday, Capt. Doug Ponsford and Firefighter Patrick Byrne are helping to combat the Shovel Lake Fire, shuttling water for fire suppression and structural protection in the Babine area fires burning near Fraser Lake and Fort St. James. Salt Spring’s reserve fire tender is also being used in the effort. Ponsford and Byrne are part of Task Force 3 and are among more than 100 personnel working on the Shove Lake Fire.

Ponsford said the community has been very supportive and welcoming. The Salt Spring men are stationed at Nechako Valley Secondary School in Vanderhoof.

Last year SSIFR sent fire crews to assist in the efforts in Williams Lake over a five-week period.

British Columbia is facing another extreme fire season with more than 500 fires burning in the province. On Aug. 15 a provincial state of emergency was declared for the second year in a row.

“We will know more this coming week if a second deployment is requested by the OFC,” said Salt Spring Fire Chief Arjuna George on Sunday. “I will continue to provide updates on our members’ progress as they develop. For all those battling the fires, and supporting the efforts in British Columbia, thank you and stay safe. Our thoughts are with all those affected by these devastating fires.”

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