Dozens of Alberta firefighters heading south to battle deadly Oregon wildfires

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Firefighters from other jurisdictions have assisted their Alberta counterparts in confronting major events, like the 2016 Fort McMurray conflagration that destroyed 25 per cent of the city.

An aerial view shows properties destroyed by the Almeda Fire in Talent, Oregon, on Tuesday. Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images
Firefighters from Las Vegas set ablaze brush and trees during a firing operation near the Obenchain Fire in Butte Falls, Oregon, on Tuesday. Photo by REUTERS/Adrees Latif

Alberta is easily able to send personnel to the U.S. partly because the wildfire season in the province has been so quiet, say provincial government officials.

Only about 1,500 hectares of the province has been torched by 634 blazes this year, compared to 157,000 hectares being charred by 950 wildfires last year.

Those Alberta fire crews hail from all over the province, particularly its north, but Fairweather said none from the Calgary area will be going, due to dry conditions near the city.

“The Calgary Forest Area has had an elevated wildfire hazard for several weeks now, so it is possible that they wanted to keep all of their personnel in the area to be ready in case of any wildfire activity that could occur,” he said.

Alberta is returning the favour to U.S. Pacific Northwest firefighters who helped battle blazes in the province last year.

They’ll be joining about 30,000 firefighters who’ve been trying to beat back flames in California, Oregon and Washington for the past few weeks.

The province won’t be dispatching any firefighting aircraft because the American request was solely for manpower, said Alberta Wildfire officials.

NASA satellite imagery taken on Monday, Sept. 14, shows how smoke from fires in the western states has drifted across North America. Move the slider to see the severity of airborne particles from the fires. Deep red indicates heavy concentrations of aerosols that could cause reduced visibility or impact health.

on Twitter: @BillKaufmannjrn

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