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108 Mexican Firefighters ’Eager to Start’ on British Columbia Wildfire Efforts

Alex Migdal - CBC News
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August 9, 2017

Juan Villa, a spokesman for the 108 Mexican firefighters in B.C., says, despite the difference in terrain, the firefighting techniques remain largely the same. (Jenifer Norwell/CBC)

When a military transport landed in Kamloops on Friday, the 44 Mexican firefighters on board could barely make out the city through the thick smoke.

"This is the first time we saw this quantity of smoke," Juan Villa, the group's spokesman, said shortly after disembarking the flight.

Villa's time in Kamloops was brief.

After being outfitted with vehicles, radio and equipment, he joined the fleet of 108 Mexican firefighters currently battling some of the toughest fires in the ravaged Cariboo region.

It's the province's first-ever deployment from Mexico, underscoring the intensity of the 100-plus wildfires that have strained the roughly 1,000 B.C. firefighters battling the blazes.

As of Tuesday, about 3,700 personnel, including firefighters and support staff, are involved in the wildfire effort. More than 800 of them are from out of province.

The Elephant Hill wildfire, which has burned 110,000 hectares, has drawn 414 firefighters alone.

"It means a lot that we can get this kind of support and that people are willing to travel across the world to assist," said chief fire information officer Kevin Skrepnek.

The firefighters, who come from the National Forestry Commission of Mexico, are expected to stay in B.C. for six weeks.

Read the rest at CBC News

Related: Requests from B.C. for More Firefighters Coming Up Short as Temperatures Rise (CBC News)

Related: As Donald Trump Threatened North Korea with ‘Fire and Fury,’ Justin Trudeau Quietly Got an Imprisoned Canadian Released (Newsweek)

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