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Protocols in place for those fighting wildfires in B.C. amid historic heat wave

Crews have been instructed to take more frequent breaks, every 30 to 60 minutes, to avoid heat stroke.

Record-breaking temperatures have given many in B.C. an excuse to stay inside with the air conditioner on or head to the beach — but for those fighting wildfires in the province, things are really heating up.

Wildfire season is in full swing and, in this unprecedented heat, the BC Wildfire Service (BCWS) is working to keep its crew members safe.

Fire information officer Madison Smith says this heat wave's extreme temperatures make fighting fires even more difficult.

“There's not a lot of reprieve from the heat while you're working on wildfires,” Smith says.

In order to continue fighting these fires, as well as keep emergency responders safe, BCWS says it has modified crew schedules and made water more readily available to personnel who are working in extreme heat.

“They have been instructed to take more frequent breaks. So they're suggesting every 30 to 60 minutes, and hopefully... they can get a bit of shade to rest in as well. As well as a lot of water made available to our crews on the line so that they don't get dehydrated,” she adds.

According to BCWS, safety protocols have also been undated in order to avoid heat stroke among firefighters.

Environment Canada is predicting temperatures in the 40s on Wednesday in the Interior. So far, the heat wave has shattered more than 100 all-time heat records across B.C.

The record-setting temperatures prompted a provincewide campfire ban that went into effect on Wednesday.