Hot Shot crews from Lolo, Bitterroot forests help Canada fight wildfires

(KPAX) Hotshot crews from around western and central Montana are headed to Canada this week to help fight wildfires that have forced thousands from their homes.

The Northern Rockies Coordination Center confirmed the Helena Hotshots, Bitterroot Hotshots, Lolo Hotshots, and the Flathead Hotshots are being dispatched to Alberta on Wednesday, June 5.

The teams were given a 14-day assignment, but have not yet received the specific areas they will provide aid to.

According to the Alberta government, four large wildfire complexes are burning in the province.

The largest, the Chuckegg Creek Fire, outside the town of High Level, has burned more than 690,000 acres. The McMillian Complex fires southwest of the Bigstone Cree Nation have also burned more than half a million acres.

Across the province, more than 10,000 people have been forced from their homes.

Currently, there are 2,300 wildland and structural firefighters, 223 helicopters, 28 air tankers and other heavy equipment working to contain the fires.

Interagency Hotshot Crews are the most highly trained, skilled, and experienced type of wildland firefighters in the country. The crews are dispatched to battle the most serious fires.

-John Riley and Eric Jochim reporting for MTN News