Fisheries and Land Resources
June 25, 2019
Minister Byrne Announces Deployment of Forest Firefighters to Alberta
The Honourable Gerry Byrne, Minister of Fisheries and Land Resources, has announced the deployment of 20 firefighters and one agency representative from the department’s wildfire suppression team to assist in fighting wildfires near Steen River, Alberta, about 900 kilometres north of Edmonton. This is the largest contingent of firefighters ever deployed from this province under the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre (CIFFC) Mutual Aid Resources Sharing (MARS) Agreement. The deployment is expected to last 19 days.
Among the 21-person crew are nine post-secondary student firefighters, supported and supervised by 11 permanent wildland firefighters. The students were recently hired and trained under the department’s new student firefighter program to fight wildland fires within Newfoundland and Labrador and elsewhere in Canada as required. Students have achieved national fitness standards and are trained in all aspects of fire suppression, as well as fire equipment inspections, weather station maintenance, wildfire science and prevention activities, and other project work relating to forest management. Students are posted in St. John’s, Clarenville, Gander, Springdale and St. George’s.
Along with permanent staff and students, the Department of Fisheries and Land Resources employs 84 seasonal firefighters, trained and equipped for ground suppression, and strategically positioned at 22 depots and offices throughout the province. Air Services Division of the Department of Transportation and Works maintains four water bombers located throughout the province to be stationed according to Fire Weather Index information and deployed as required. Five contract helicopters equipped with Bambi buckets and trained pilots are also available for quick deploy.
CIFFC is a not-for-profit corporation owned and operated by the federal, provincial and territorial wildland fire management agencies to coordinate resource sharing, mutual aid, and information sharing. In addition, CIFFC also serves as a collective focus and facilitator of wildland fire cooperation and coordination nationally and internationally in long-range fire management planning, program delivery and human resource strategies.
“Fire suppression is a vital component of forest protection, and trained student firefighters increase our staff’s capacity to tackle wildland fire suppression activities within the province, and assist in out-of-province deployments when the call comes. The experience these student firefighters will gain under the guidance of our professional forest fire suppression staff and resource managers is invaluable in their future careers as leaders in natural resource management. I wish them and the rest of our crew the very best in Alberta as they take on this challenging, rewarding work.”
Honourable Gerry Byrne
Minister of Fisheries and Land Resources
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Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre
Fisheries and Land Resources
2019 06 25 2:50 p.m.