As firefighters and volunteers continue to battle wildfires in and around Kelowna, the BC Wildfire Service has stated they are being hindered by thieves stealing their equipment.
The government’s Wildfire Service X account provided an update Sunday night.
“The BC Wildfire Service and multiple structural fire departments remain engaged in active and critical firefighting operations in the North Shuswap area,” the account stated.
“We urgently ask for the public’s assistance by not moving or taking any firefighting equipment.”
Later, the account stated that “Theft continues to be an issue. More pumps have been stolen today.”
BC’s Premier David Eby has also chimed in, suggesting people may have simply been trying to help.
“We’ll put the best possible understanding on this – that people think they’re helping,” he said.
“They are not. You’re not helping if you’re moving firefighting equipment.”
Preliminary assessments indicate that wildfires blazing on either side of British Columbia’s Okanagan Lake have resulted in the devastation of nearly 60 structures within the Kelowna vicinity, as confirmed by authorities on Monday.
Over 35,000 residents were under an evacuation order, and other 30,000 were placed on evacuation alert.
An update on Sunday indicated that 41,000 hectares are engulfed in flames.
Last week, Yellowknife RCMP announced the arrest and charging of four female youths in connection with an arson attempt along Burwash Drive in Yellowknife.