Government of Canada Announces More Funding for Firefighter Training and Provides Update on 2023 Wildland Fire Season Forecast
NORTH VANCOUVER, BC, Aug. 11, 2023 /CNW/ – As this year’s unprecedented wildfire season continues in many provinces and territories, the Government of Canada is continuing to support Canadians now while strengthening Canada’s preparedness for years to come.
Today in North Vancouver, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, joined by the Honourable Harjit Sajjan, President of the King’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Emergency Preparedness and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada, announced that $400,000 through the first phase of the Fighting and Managing Wildfires in a Changing Climate – Training Fund will be provided to the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) to fund a pilot project to help build wildfire fighting capacity and enhance training best practices.
This funding will be directed to the IAFF’s Responding to the Interface (RTI) program, which will provide specialized training to structural firefighters, expanding their skills and capabilities. This training will help better prepare and equip firefighters to fight wildfires, with a focus on the wildland urban interface (WUI).
Through this pilot project, the IAFF will train 25 instructors on how to deliver consistent and effective wildfire response training through a Cadre Building training program in Kamloops, British Columbia. In addition, the IAFF will deliver 15 courses across five different locations in Western Canada, training up to 325 structural firefighting personnel on urban interface wildfire training.
Over 10 percent of Canadians live in interface areas comprising 32 million hectares across the country, where urban communities intermingle with flammable environments like forests. In our fight against wildfires, the interface is an urgent area of focus. Interface fires pose the greatest threats to lives and livelihoods and can have devastating impacts even when contained — like the spreading of thick smoke and evacuations that can cause immense stress on residents and families.
Complementing the Government of Canada’s commitment to train 1,000 new wildland firefighters over five years, this pilot project will help to inform best practices and recommendations for the future delivery of wildland firefighter training in advance of phase 2 of the Training Fund set to launch next year.
This initiative also builds on important actions to date, including an announcement made by Minister Wilkinson for funding to train 300 Indigenous firefighters and 125 Indigenous fire guardians in connection with the Government of Canada’s Fighting and Managing Wildfires in a Changing Climate program’s Equipment Fund, which helps provinces and territories procure the equipment they need, and our long-term investment in the one-of-a-kind WildFireSat satellite mission, which will improve our ability to predict fire risk and protect Canadian communities.
Also today, Government of Canada officials provided an updated forecast for the remainder of the 2023 wildfire season. Most recent projections indicate a continued potential for higher-than-normal fire activity across most of the country throughout the 2023 wildland fire season. This activity is due to long-range forecasts for warm temperatures and ongoing drought, which are affecting parts of all provinces and territories and intensifying in some regions. For July, warm and dry conditions will increase wildfire risk from British Columbia and Yukon through to western Labrador. During August, the area at risk will stretch from British Columbia through western Quebec.
Keeping Canadians safe and healthy is the first priority of the Government of Canada. By working together with provinces, territories, Indigenous communities and our international allies, we continue to fight wildfires while protecting homes, livelihoods and lives.
“This wildfire season has been historic, with more intense fires in more parts of Canada than ever before. The first priority of this government is the health and safety of Canadians. That is why we are partnering with the IAFF to deliver more firefighters and high-quality training opportunities across Canada. We will continue to work with the partners to expand our wildfire fighting capacity — to protect and preserve Canadian lives and livelihoods.”
The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson
Minister of Energy and Natural Resources
“As this challenging wildfire season continues to impact communities and livelihoods across the country, protecting Canadians remains our first priority. Today’s announcement with the International Association of Fire Fighters will help expand our wildfire fighting capacity and increase our ability to respond to future wildfire seasons. Thank you to all the firefighters, first responders and Canadian Armed Forces personnel who have been working tirelessly to keep communities safe.”
The Honourable Harjit Sajjan
President of the King’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Emergency Preparedness and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada
“The need to defend our communities from encroaching interface fires is imperative. We’re grateful to the Government of Canada and the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources for funding the IAFF’s Responding to the Interface training program so that firefighters can safely and effectively protect Canadians and their homes from this danger.”
Vice President, International Association of Firefighters 6th District
- Seasonal wildfire forecasts use the most recent fire weather indexes and consider drought conditions and temperature and precipitation forecasts derived from two climate model ensembles known as the Canadian Seasonal to Interannual Prediction System (CanSIPS), operated by Environment and Climate Change Canada).
- Current information on national fire conditions is available publicly at all times through Natural Resource Canada’s Canadian Wildland Fire Information System. Additionally, during the fire season, the Canadian Forest Service supports emergency and fire management agencies through the development of situation reports (fire weather forecasts, situational awareness) and the delivery of fire growth and behaviour models.
- The Government of Canada, through Environment and Climate Change Canada, is committed to providing support to all our partners by supplying weather information including detailed precipitation and wind forecasts, smoke dispersion predictions and air quality forecasts. Access the latest weather information with weather.gc.ca.
- The Government Operations Centre (GOC), on behalf of the Government of Canada, is the lead for federal response coordination for emergency events affecting the national interest and works in close collaboration with federal organizations, non-governmental organizations and provincial emergency management partners.
- Under NRCan’s Fighting and Managing Wildfires in a Changing Climate program Training Fund, a two-year Training Pilot is being implemented with a focus on providing support to Indigenous communities and organizations to train firefighters and to better understand the needs and barriers in the sector. A fully launched fund in 2024–2025 will be informed by the learning obtained from the projects under the pilot.
- Under NRCan’s Fighting and Managing Wildfires in a Changing Climate program’s Equipment Fund, provinces and territories can cost-share investments for equipment, such as vehicles, mobile units, avionics upgrades (parts), hoses, pumps, enhanced communications equipment, repair of aging equipment and training.
- The WildFireSat satellite mission will respond directly to the needs of fire managers in Canada. It will support smoke and air quality monitoring and forecasting and downstream carbon emission monitoring. WildFireSat will also improve our ability to defend Canadian communities, especially the more vulnerable remote northern communities located in forested areas, and enable more effective decisions about evacuations.
- Countries are able to bolster internal capacity through providing mutual aid during wildfire emergencies. Canada requires support from international partners most years and has benefited from such assistance in the recent past. Canada has also provided aid to international partners when they have been faced with intense wildland fire seasons.
- Canadian Wildland Fire Information System: Monthly and Seasonal Forecasts
- Canadian Wildland Fire Strategy
- Fighting and Managing Wildfires in a Changing Climate Program
- WildFireSat: Enhancing Canada’s ability to manage wildfires
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SOURCE Natural Resources Canada
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