Today, the Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, and the Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence, have approved a formal Request for Federal Assistance from the Province of Manitoba to help with firefighting efforts across the province.
The number of wildfires that Manitoba has experienced since the beginning of the year is well above the seasonal average and has resulted in over 500,000 hectares burned. This has placed a considerable strain on local and provincial firefighting resources.
The Government of Canada is responding to this request by sending personnel from the Canadian Armed Forces to assist with extinguishing hot spots on contained fires and building fire lines to contain priority fires, which will help relieve the pressure on firefighters already on the ground.
The Government Operations Centre is coordinating the federal response to wildfires in Manitoba and across the country. Partners from across the federal and provincial government will work closely to coordinate this assistance.
“The Government of Canada always stands ready to help the provinces and territories. We are pleased to be able to provide assistance with the ongoing wildfires in Manitoba. The people of Manitoba are top of mind as you continue to manage the difficult wildfire situation in the province.”
– The Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
“The Canadian Armed Forces continue to provide critical assistance and protection to Canadians threatened by the recent natural disasters. In response to requests for assistance from the province of Manitoba, approximately 120 Canadian Armed Forces members will help provincial wildfire service staff with vital firefighting efforts.”
– The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence
“Manitoba is grateful for the support from other jurisdictions, and appreciates assistance in our time of need. The reciprocal nature of our firefighting efforts has been key to tackling challenges such as the current fire season.”
– Sarah Guillemard, Manitoba Minister of Conservation and Climate
So far this season, 4,447 wildfires have burned over 2 million hectares of land across Canada, well-above the 10-year average of 3,452 fires burning approximately 1.5 million hectares.
Canadian Armed Forces personnel will provide assistance with the following tasks:
- Assisting Manitoba Wildfire Service (MWS) personnel with holding existing fire lines
- Suppressing hot spots to ensure fires are fully extinguished
- Working with MWS fire crews to build new fire lines on priority fires