(AFP) – Aug 1, 2010
MONTREAL — Firefighters and fire specialists poured into British Columbia Sunday to help battle more than 350 wildfires raging across the province, with authorities issuing a warning that the danger was "extreme."
The reinforcements came a day after a water bomber crashed near Lytton, northeast of Vancouver. Both crew members, the pilot and co-pilot, were feared dead, officials said.
"The fire danger rating for most of British Columbia is high to extreme, and weather forecasters are not expecting it to improve any time soon," the BC Ministry of Forests announced in a bulletin.
On Sunday, an additional 230 fire personnel, including attack crews, command teams, and fire behaviour analysts, were sent into harsh terrain in BC from Ontario and Alberta, the ministry said.
An additional 14 aircraft, including birddog planes and airtankers, were also being brought in to battle the blaze, which is spreading but has mainly raged in the Cariboo and Kamloops regions of the province, where the weather is hot and conditions are tinder-dry.
Helicopters, water bombers and heavy machinery were already supporting an estimated 1,000 firefighters on the ground.
The fires has so far burned a total of 59,781 hectares (147,716 acres), officials said.
A rescue helicopter dispatched to the site where the Conair water bomber went down on Saturday evening was unable to reach the wreckage because of dangerous conditions.
"We couldn't see anything. The fire engulfed the crash site," Dom Lassonde, of the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Victoria, told AFP.
Residents in six areas of the province were under evacuation order or alert, authorities said.
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