CALGARY: Canada was deploying military aircraft and Australia was sending 50 firefighters to battle rapidly spreading wildfires in British Columbia that have forced 39,000 people from their homes, federal Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said on Monday.
Goodale told reporters the western Canadian province had made two requests of the federal government for military assistance to fight the fires, which he said were expected to worsen.
The military has sent two planes and five helicopters to help with evacuations and transportation for first responders, according to the Department of National Defence.
British Columbia chief fire information officer Kevin Skrepnek said in a conference call the Australians were due to arrive on Wednesday.
There were 159 fires across the province in an area between 150 km (95 miles) to 350 km (217 miles) northeast of Vancouver, including 17 new ones, although the total numbers were down slightly from 162 on Sunday, Skrepnek said. No casualties have been reported.