Manitoba hiring five extra initial-attack forest firefighting crews for upcoming wildfire season

Wildfire season is still a way off in Northern Manitoba but the provincial government is implementing various fire prevention and protection measures around the province to help mitigate the risk of damage.

Restrictions on travel and burning have already been implemented in parts of southern and central Manitoba, where there are dry conditions due to low moisture levels resulting from lower-than-normal snow accumulations over the winter.

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Manitoba Wildfire Service weather stations across the province are being upgraded  and the province is spending $774,000 for salaries and other costs in order to hire five additional initial-attack crews consisting of 25 members for the wildfire season. The crews will be assigned to existing bases around the province where they are needed. Rapid COVID-19 testing will be implemented at Manitoba Wildfire Service bases for the safety of staff.

The Manitoba Wildfire Service has spent $460,000 on prevention and mitigation programming efforts over the past year, developing a print publication called “Blazing the Trail – Celebrating Indigenous Fire Stewardship” that is relevant to Indigenous communities and helps promote actions to encourage wildfire resilience. The Boreal Discovery Centre in Thompson also received support for an exhibit and educational outreach that covers boreal forest fire ecology, fire weather and Indigenous fire management.

Remote lodges and outfitters have also been assisted with obtaining specialized sprinkler systems and FireSmart planning and programming to help ensure that they are able to protect themselves from approaching wildfires until the Manitoba Wildfire Service can respond.

$2.6 million has also been committed for avionics and communications upgrades for Manitoba’s water bomber fleet to enable them to be deployed to the United States if assistance is required and they are not currently needed in Manitoba.

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