Prince Albert Grand Council Enhances Wildfire Response Through Indigenous Fire Steward Training

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TREATY 6 TERRITORY, PRINCE ALBERT, SK , Aug. 19, 2023 /CNW/ – Across Canada, several provinces and territories are experiencing a severe wildfire season, and the effects are widespread. As wildfires become more common and more extreme, the Government of Canada is focused on keeping people safe while strengthening Canada’s long-term response.

Today, as part of his visit to Saskatchewan, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, announced a contribution of $524,780 toward the Prince Albert Grand Council Indigenous Wildfire Stewards Pilot Program.

The contribution comes from Natural Resource Canada’s Fighting and Managing Wildfires in a Changing Climate Program: Training Fund, a two-year Training Pilot currently 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 best practices obtained from the projects under the pilot.

Through the Indigenous Wildfire Stewards Pilot program, the Prince Albert Grand Council will increase capacity to prepare for and respond to wildfires, address employment barriers for Indigenous people and better understand the needs and requirements of communities in Saskatchewan impacted by wildfires.

A total of 320 existing wildland fire practitioners will participate in traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) training with Elder advisors, as well as train 125 Indigenous fire stewards through fire camps and fire guardian programs. The project will result in 445 participants receiving training, increasing the number of trained personnel that provinces, territories and Indigenous communities can leverage to respond to wildfire.

The Government of Canada’s first priority is protecting lives and livelihoods. Canada continues to work with provinces and territories to identify and suppress wildfires and keep communities safe during this year’s devastating wildfire season.


Canada is committed to keeping communities safe from wildfires. Through this pilot project, in partnership with the Prince Albert Grand Council, the Indigenous Wildfire Stewards Pilot program will increase capacity to prepare for and respond to wildfires through training and traditional ecological knowledge. This means providing people with the skills needed to identify and fight wildfires in their communities.”

The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson

Minister of Energy and Natural Resources

“Our Indigenous Wildfire Stewards Pilot program acknowledges the extensive knowledge of fire preparedness, response and management possessed by First Nations communities in northern Saskatchewan. This initiative strengthens community resilience against fires by endorsing First Nations-led, field-based fire camps. It also fosters intergenerational dialogue and knowledge exchange by bringing together Elders and young people with fire experts trained in both traditional methods and modern techniques. Furthermore, the program pioneers the development of a Fire Guardians Initiative to guide fire research benefiting our communities. Overall, the pilot project underscores the indispensable role that First Nations people play in safeguarding our communities, ancestral lands and Inherent and Treaty rights, particularly in the face of climate change.”

Grand Chief Brian Hardlotte

Prince Albert Grand Council

Quick Facts
  • Parks Canada, the Prince Albert Grand Council and the Prince Albert Model Forest have also contributed toward the Indigenous Wildfire Stewards Pilot Program, as follows:
    • Parks Canada: $57,878
    • Prince Albert Grand Council: $30,000
    • Prince Albert Model Forest: $57,878
Related Information
  • The Government of Canada Provides Update on Firefighter Training and Support for Canadians Through the 2023 Wildfire Season

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SOURCE Natural Resources Canada

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