A wildfire burns on a moutainside in Boston Flats, British Columbia.
Eighty people including firefighters from Fire and Emergency, the Department of Conservation and forestry contractors will fly to Vancouver over the next three days on a five-week mission to provide relief to Canadian firefighters stretched to capacity.
Thousands of people have been evacuated and a province is in a state of emergency as more than 200 fires carve a destructive swathe across the North American continent.
So far more than 1.2million hectares have been destroyed by fire in this year's catastrophic fire season. The worst affected region is British Columbia where more than 474,000 hectares have gone up in flames and 135 fires continue to burn out of control.
Fire and Emergency national manager rural Kevin O'Connor said the New Zealand contingent would be stationed in British Columbia. He said the deployment was in response to a formal request from the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre earlier this week. "Canada is close to exhausting all available wildfire management resources within their country. To help provide ongoing relief, New Zealand is sending a team of firefighters and operational personnel to provide frontline and incident management support to local firefighters," said O'Connor.
"Our fire crews and incident management team members have a range of skills in high demand during lengthy firefighting operations. These include experience in logistics, communications, ferrying supplies into remote locations, and the use of aircraft."
Bushfires continued to claim more than 8000 hectares a day and hot, extreme conditions showed no sign of abating. Current firefighting efforts in British Columbia remain focused on public safety and keeping highway evacuation routes open. O'Connor said the New Zealand contingent would join the 3000-plus people and 200 planes currently engaged in the British Columbia operation.