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For Immediate Release: May 12, 2023
Contact: Jennifer Myslivy, firstname.lastname@example.org, 208-789-6181
NIFC mobilizes fire resources to provide support for Canadian wildfires
Boise, Idaho - The National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) is coordinating firefighting support to Canada by mobilizing wildland fire resources from several federal agencies. Due to above-normal fire activity in Canada, the National Multi-Agency Coordinating Group (NMAC), at NIFC, is working with wildland fire agencies to fill requests for two 15-person incident management teams, three interagency resource representatives, and 10 hand crews to assist with wildfire suppression efforts in Alberta.
The mobilization is possible through a formal arrangement between the U.S. and Canada that has been in place since 1982. This long-standing arrangement between Canada and the U.S. helps ensure the efficient sharing of firefighting resources during periods of peak fire activity. The last time NIFC facilitated international wildland fire assistance was in 2021, when two hand crews made up of approximately 40 firefighters and one leadership position, from Canada assisted with wildfires in the Pacific Northwest.
“We are fortunate to be in a position to help our neighbors to the North during this critical time,” said Jeff Arnberger, NMAC Chair. “Through our long-standing arrangement and excellent relationship, Canada has supported the United States in sharing firefighting personnel when we needed it the most. We are proud to answer their call for help and provide these much-needed resources.”
Wildland firefighters from the U.S. started traveling this week and are expected to arrive in Edmonton, Alberta over the weekend. Before heading out on the fire line, the U.S. personnel will receive a safety orientation that includes a rundown of the current wildfire situation, including weather conditions. The firefighters are expected to complete a two-week assignment in Canada, and then return to the U.S.
Canada currently has a National Preparedness Level (PL) of 4 and is experiencing “very high” wildfire activity. The U.S. is at PL 2, which is based on current commitments of resources to wildland and prescribed fires. Preparedness levels range from 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest level.
What is a preparedness level? Why does this change occur and who makes the decision? The NMAC, comprised of wildland fire representatives from each wildland fire agency based at NIFC, establishes PLs throughout the calendar year to ensure suppression resource availability for emerging incidents across the country. PLs are dictated by fuel and weather conditions, fire activity, and fire suppression resource availability throughout the country.
For information on National Preparedness Levels, please visit https://www.nifc.gov/fire-information.
For the most current information concerning the wildfires burning in Canada, please visit the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre webpage at https://ciffc.net/.