Vancouver: The federal government is taking the first steps toward creation of a comprehensive program to train wildfire fighters.

Energy and Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson and Emergency Preparedness Minister Harjit Sajjan were in North Vancouver on Friday morning to announce 4,00,000 dollars for a unique pilot project.

They said cash will go to the International Association of Fire Fighters to help build wildfire fighting capacity and enhance training best practices.

The association will train 25 instructors to deliver wildfire response courses at a program based in Kamloops, while as many as 325 structural firefighting personnel will also be trained to handle

urban interface fires, like the one in late May that destroyed homes in Nova Scotia.

On the occasion, they said as nearly 400 active wildfires blaze in British Columbia, wildfire activity across the province — and all the way to the Northwest Territories and Western Ontario — could continue well into September.

The federal minister provided the latest snapshot of the wildfire crisis in the county.

They describe this year as “unprecedented” with just under 5,600 blazes recorded across Canada since the season began in April, charring 1,34,000 sq kms of trees, bush and grassland.

Hundreds of homes were destroyed by interface wildfires in Nova Scotia earlier this year and fires have also claimed homes and cabins in several parts of British Columbia, including in separate fires west of Lillooet near Gun Lake and Anderson Lake and another in southeastern of the province. —  Canadian Press

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