NELSON, B.C. - The Martin Mars water bomber has been deployed to fight its first forest fire in British Columbia since it was retired two years ago.

Provincial Fire Information Officer Ryan Turcot says the bomber was sent to a seven-hectare fire east of Nelson on Saturday.

He says the fire east of Boswell and Highway 3A is burning on difficult, steep terrain and the objective of the Martin Mars will be to hold the west flank of the blaze as previous air drops have not been successful.

Turcot says the Martin Mars will increase the relative humidity of the ground fuels and give the personnel on the ground some time to establish a guard.

The number of wildfires burning in the province has dropped to 150 from more than 200 at the start of the week.

The Puntzi Lake blaze in the province's Cariboo region has destroyed more than 8,100 hectares and forced several properties to be evacuated.