A crew of 21 firefighters from New Brunswick is headed across the country to help battle forest fires in British Columbia.

At least 220 fires are burning and more than 8,500 people have been forced from their homes, including about 1,500 ordered out of 100 Mile House, B.C., on Sunday night.

Julien Bourque of Rogersville, N.B., said he's anxious to provide "boots on the ground."

"They have quite a few fires there and seem pretty busy so they need help from other provinces," he said.

This is the fourth year in a row Bourque has been dispatched to fight fires in other provinces.

He and Hayley Hallihan of Miramichi, N.B., spent part of last summer fighting fires that ravaged Alberta.

Hallihan spent two weeks battling the fires around Fort McMurray and she said she is prepared for what she will face in British Columbia.

"It's going to be pretty hectic out there, but I guess we'll be working long days and lugging a lot of hose around and doing whatever they need us to do," she said.

This will be Hallihan's fifth time going to Western Canada to help fight fires, but she says this one is a bit personal.

"I know some people out there who have had some difficulty like having their properties burn down, so it feels great to go out and help and do what we can," she said.

Roger Collet, New Brunswick's fire prevention officer, said all 21 New Brunswickers going to B.C. will be working the fire lines.

"When they get there they will be briefed and then assigned to work on a fire," he said. "They'll be there to help out no matter where they're asked to go."

The New Brunswickers are among about 300 firefighters being sent to British Columbia from other parts of the country.

The Canadian Armed Forces is already helping residents affected by evacuations and airlifting emergency workers and equipment.

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