Ontario crews to help battle Alberta wildfires
By Eric Shih, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Crews from Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry are being sent to help fight wildfires in Alberta.
Nearly 30,000 people have been forced from their communities in north and central Alberta, as more than 100 active wildfires continue to burn.
“Ontario has deployed 40 Fire Rangers, Four Task Force Leaders and one Agency Representative to Alberta to assist with wildland fire response,” the ministry said in an email statement to Dougall Media. “They left the province on Saturday alongside forest firefighters from SOPFEU, Quebec’s fire management agency.”
Alison Bezubiak, a fire information officer working out of the Dryden base, said the deployed staff come from across the province, including the Northwest region.
“When Alberta wildfire placed the request through the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Center, the province of Ontario determined it was able to send help based on the current fire activity in our province,” she said. “Our staffing and resources remain adequate for the current fire hazard.”
She said fire crews from Ontario can work a maximum of 19 days out of the province with 14 of those days assigned to an active incident.
On Saturday, Alberta declared a state of emergency.
“We are committed to helping as much as we can out of province while maintaining our capacity to respond to any wild land fires here in Ontario,” said Bezubiak.
Eric Shih is a Local Journalism Initiative Reporter for the Thunder Bay Source.
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