PARKS CANADA NATIONAL FIRE MANAGEMENT - PROGRAM WILDFIRE RESILIENCE AND PREPAREDNESS IMPROVEMENTS
Parks Canada’s National Fire Management Program
Parks Canada’s National Fire Management Program is a team of professional, highly trained wildland fire management specialists committed to public safety and the stewardship of Parks Canada administered places.
In 1909, the first national park wardens (Fire and Game Guardians) were hired — primarily to put out fires. Today’s fire management specialists are working to sustain fire-dependent ecosystems while still providing fire protection.
Parks Canada fire management personnel are trained in wildfire readiness and response and use the best available science to inform their approach to wildland fire management.
Parks Canada has 22 dedicated four-person fire crews across Canada. Parks Canada also maintains a roster of five 20-person National Incident Management Teams with personnel from across the country who are trained to manage complex fires and other incidents.
All Parks Canada fire management specialists are required to successfully complete a series of training and fitness evaluations which meet domestic and international exchange requirements for their positions. Training may range from advanced fire behaviour prediction, leadership, communications, and helicopter management.
Wildfire Preparedness and Resilience Improvements
Climate change is causing wildfires to become more frequent and more severe across Canada, threatening our health, our communities, and the ecological integrity of treasured national parks.
To improve the resilience of national parks to wildfire, make communities safer, and adapt to climate change, the Government of Canada has provided $65 million in funding ($52 million from Budget 2021 and $13 million in Parks Canada Infrastructure Funding), to Parks Canada’s National Fire Management Program.
This preparedness and resilience investment contributes to Parks Canada’s capacity to share resources, training and expertise with partners including communities, Indigenous communities, and other members of the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre (CIFFC), including:
- Increasing the scope, and accelerating the pace, of wildfire risk reduction efforts across the country, with a particular focus on the communities located within and directly adjacent to Parks Canada administered places;
- Increasing capacity throughout Parks Canada’s National Fire Management Program, particularly in those sites at greater risk of wildfire and to help mitigate efforts of longer fire seasons resulting from climate change;
- Increasing the Government’s capacity to train and retain highly specialized personnel, and increase response, mitigation and planning capacity;
- Purchase of a new mobile incident command post which can be quickly deployed to Parks Canada administered places across Canada or shared with provincial and territorial partners through the CIFFC; and
- The procurement of new firefighting resources, including an upgraded National Fire Equipment Cache in Banff, Alberta. The National Fire Cache acts as a central equipment repository and augments local equipment reserves across the country. Equipment is maintained in a state of readiness and can be quickly deployed to Parks Canada administered places across Canada or shared with provincial and territorial partners through CIFFC.
Originally identified in Budget 2021, Parks Canada is now seeing the benefits on-the-ground related to wildfire preparedness, response, prevention from this important investment. Additional infrastructure funding was committed in 2022 to support the construction of the National Fire Equipment Cache.
Parks Canada uses a combination of planning, preparedness guidelines and appropriate response to ensure their actions contribute to building long-term resilience of national parks and national historic sites to the increasing occurrence of wildfire caused by climate change. Risk reduction projects and prescribed fire are some of the tools used to achieve these objectives. These investments help build a sustainable fire management program to conduct this important work.
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