Nearly 100 Mexican firefighters will say goodbye to British Columbia after spending more than a month on the front lines of some of Okanagan’s worst wildfires.
Thursday, Sept. 9 marks their last day on the job, with some working the small Penticton fire that broke out on Monday morning. That fire, on Penticton Indian Band land, is contained and in mop-up stage.
“The BC Wildfire Service wants to extend a heartfelt thank you to the 98 firefighters and three support personnel who deployed from Mexico this summer to help manage the wildfire situation in B.C.,” BC Wildfire Service (BCWS) said in a statement.
The expert firefighters from Mexico arrived on July 24 and worked long days battling wildfires throughout the Okanagan.
The highly skilled crew was first deployed to assist with the Nk’Mip Creek wildfire, which was then listed at over 6,800 hectares, and was the cause of several tense evacuations. The Nk’Mip Creek wildfire is no longer a fire of note and considered held, with much thanks to all firefighters including the Mexican contingent, the BCWS said.
On the eve of their arrival to Osoyoos, the firefighters were invited by a host from the Osoyoos Indian Band, welcoming them to the traditional lands of the Syilx people with prayer and drumming.
“Their work this wildfire season has been invaluable to this organization and all British Columbians affected by wildfires,” said BCWS.
Aydan Coray, BC Wildfire information officer for the Penticton fires, said the Mexican firefighters were ‘amazing to work with’ and their efforts were invaluable to firefighting efforts.
The Mexican crew worked alongside the Canadian military, a small Australian crew and many BC Wildfire firefighters. The Mexicans begin their travels home this weekend.
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