March 5th, 2024

Alberta fire chiefs want provincial wildfire plan released before season begins

By The Canadian Press on January 31, 2024.

Alberta's fire chiefs are "urgently" asking the provincial government to explain how it's getting ready for the upcoming wildfire season and to release its preparedness strategy. Burnt trees damaged from recent wildfires are seen in Drayton Valley, Alta., on Wednesday, May 17, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

EDMONTON – Alberta’s fire chiefs are “urgently” asking the provincial government to explain how it’s getting ready for the upcoming wildfire season and to release its preparedness strategy.

In an open letter to the province’s United Conservative Party government, the chiefs say relying on towns and cities to backstop wildfire response isn’t sustainable.

They say they’ve asked for more training capacity and equipment, as well as for a committee to help develop a provincial strategy to deal with the growing wildfire threat.

The chiefs say they don’t know what the plan is, what the budgets will be like or how firefighters will be recruited and deployed.

They say it’s crucial to have a clear, well-resourced and collaborative strategy before the fire season begins.

Alberta suffered an unprecedented wildfire season last year, with more than 2.5 million hectares of forest burned.

The chiefs say wildfires are occurring more often, for longer and with greater intensity than in the past.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 31, 2024.

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