(Black Press photo)

RCMP send 340 officers from B.C. and Alberta to help with wildfires

RCMP say there will be ‘no tolerance for criminal activities’ in fire evacuation zones

SURREY — As of this morning, B.C. RCMP say 300 additional officers from around the province have been sent to help with wildfires in the interior.

Another 40 RCMP personnel from Alberta have been called in.

B.C. RCMP held a press conference Tuesday morning to update the public on their efforts in the situation.

RCMP are doing 24-hour-a-day patrols in affected regions and there will be “no tolerance for criminal activities” in evacuation zones, said Deputy Commissioner Brenda Butterworth-Carr, the Commanding Officer of B.C. RCMP.

She noted RCMP have arrested ten people in evacuated areas, such as 100 Mile and Williams Lake “for break and enter, breaches and mischief. Most of whom are local individuals that are known to the local police.”

Officers deployed in these evacuated communities are patrolling “around the clock to ensure that you have a secure home to return to – and community – when it is in fact safe to do so,” said Butterworth-Carr.

She noted RCMP are prepared to assist in a mass evacuation or airlift effort if required.

An emergency operations centre was set up at B.C. RCMP headquarters Surrey last Friday night, said Butterworth-Carr.

“(It) is our command and co-ordination facility where we provide operational support and assistance to frontline policing in terms of planning, logistics, resource deployment and procurement of necessary supplies and equipment like respirators as well as eye protection and other necessary equipment,” she explained.

In addition to regular policing duties, officers are also helping manage traffic congestion and road safety, dealing with general emergency response, as well as assisting with evacuation alerts.

“We are constantly assessing our resource deployment based upon emergent needs,” said Butterworth-Carr, while assuring that provincial police services aren’t being compromised in the communities they serve.

“A large portion of the resources deployed at the moment are from specialized units such as our tactical troupe and traffic services.” she added.

As of midday Monday, 14,000 people have been evacuated as a result of the fires in interior B.C.

Butterworth-Carr said at least two RCMP members have lost their homes in the fires so far.

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