There were 159 fires across the British Columbia province in an area north-east of Vancouver. (AP: Jonathan Hayward)
There were 159 fires across the British Columbia province in an area north-east of Vancouver. (AP: Jonathan Hayward)

Australia is sending 50 firefighters and Canada is deploying military aircraft to battle rapidly spreading wildfires in British Columbia that have forced 39,000 people in the Canadian province from their homes.

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said the western province had made two requests to the Federal Government for military assistance to fight the fires, which were expected to worsen.

The military has sent two planes and five helicopters to help with evacuations and transportation for first responders, according to the Department of National Defence.

British Columbia chief fire information officer Kevin Skrepnek said the Australians were due to arrive on Wednesday.

Among the Australians being deployed is the Northern Territory Fire, Rescue and Emergency Services’ District Officer David Letheby.

“It is a little bit daunting, but I will be working alongside Australia’s very best incident management teams and hopefully we will be in a position to allow the Canadians to take some time off,” Mr Letheby said.

There were 159 fires across the province in an area north-east of Vancouver, according to authorities.

No casualties have been reported.

Chief fire information officer Kevin Skrepnek said the total number of fires burning since Sunday had decreased.

“In a few cases, it is because we had amalgamated some of these fires together,” he said.

“But for the most part, that decrease in terms of the total fires burning is an indication of progress.”

Mr Skrepnek said the area burned for the wildfire season was estimated at 188,000 hectares and had cost the province $90 million to handle.

British Columbia has announced $100 million in emergency funds.

The Canadian Red Cross will hand out stipends of $600 for displaced people.

SOURCE: ABC News

Advertisements