Members from the 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry at CFB Shilo will be assisting the province in its request to provide military support to fight its wildfires, a Canadian Armed Forces spokesperson said Wednesday.
The request came July 19 for federal assistance for firefighting efforts across the province. As many as 120 personnel trained in the required type of firefighting needed to support the Manitoba Wildfire Service will be provided to the province and will depart CFB Shilo on July 23.
Four First Nations communities have already been evacuated from the eastern border of the province due to heavy smoke and worsening conditions.
The number of wildfires that Manitoba has experienced since the beginning of the year is well above the seasonal average and has resulted in more than 500,000 hectares burned. This has placed a considerable strain on local and provincial firefighting resources.
Members from 2PPCLI will be assisting with extinguishing hot spots on contained fires and building fire lines to contain priority fires, which will help relieve the pressure on firefighters already on the ground, the release said.
"Public Safety Canada has indicated an end date of Aug. 10, 2021, with the possibility of extension pending a reassessment to determine continued need," the military spokesperson added.
To date this season, 4,447 wildfires have burned more than two million hectares of land across Canada, well above the 10-year average of 3,452 fires burning approximately 1.5 million hectares.