Local police are helping out with the forest fire catastrophe in the Interior and firefighters soon could be joining them.
Ridge Meadows RCMP sent three officers to help traffic control and security on Sunday, possibly in the Ashcroft area. E Division RCMP headquarters put out the request as it tries to maintain public safety in the areas where roads are closed and people have been ordered from their homes.
Pitt Meadows Fire and Rescue is also currently discussing sending firefighters up north. But no decisions have been made yet. “We don’t want to do anything deplete Pitt Meadows,” assistant fire chief Mike Larson said Monday. They could send the back-up truck to the Interior if requested.
They department has sent in a list to the ministry indicating what it could spare. That comprises four, paid-on-call firefighters along with the department’s back up pumper truck that carries water with ladders and hoses.
“Basically, we’re on stand by. We’re ready to go if the province needs us.”
Maple Ridge Fire and Rescue chief Howard Exner said he hasn’t received a request from the province for any assistance. “We are looking at it right now to see what we can do.”
He wants to make sure whatever Maple Ridge sends won’t be needed if a catastrophe happens locally. “We have our own responsibilities here we have to take care of as well.”
Because of the dry conditions, approaching extreme forest fire danger rating in the Lower Mainland, the City of Maple Ridge imposed a burning ban on Friday, prohibiting all open fires, in the rural areas. Fireworks or pyrotechnics are also banned, although barbecues and hibachis are allowed. Exner said Monday that ban could be strengthened later if conditions worsen.
Anyone who lights a campfire could be fined between $500 and $1,000.
Fires of any kind are banned year round in Pitt Meadows.
Road closures can be found at www.drivebc.ca
Wildfires can be found at www.bcwildfire.ca or on Twitter @BCGovFireInfo and Facebook @BCForestFireInfo.