AFCA’s Response to Minister Loewen’s Press Conference of February 20th 2024

by | Feb 22, 2024 | Announcements, General News

Alberta Fire Chiefs Association

Professionals Serving Professionals


Alberta Fire Chiefs Association (AFCA) Response to Minister Loewen’s Media Statement of February 20, 2024

The Alberta Fire Chiefs Association (AFCA) Board of Directors, following a board meeting on February 21, 2024, wishes to reserve further comments until the provincial budget is presented.  For the interim, we offer this statement:

We are encouraged with Minister Loewen’s announcement regarding the government’s plans to enhance wildfire prevention measures and increase the capacity for fighting wildfires, acknowledging the anticipation of another challenging year for Alberta in terms of wildfire activity. The AFCA is particularly encouraged by Minister Loewen’s commitment to further collaboration with our association and eagerly anticipates the dialogue to advance our shared objectives.

While we share the Minister’s aspirations, the absence of specific financial commitments in the Minister’s statement raises concerns about the adequacy of funding for these essential wildfire preparedness and response initiatives. While we understand the budgetary process’s constraints, transparent and timely communication regarding funding allocations will be crucial for strategic planning and effective implementation of these measures.

The AFCA underscores the importance of cross-ministerial cooperation, as highlighted by the involvement of multiple ministries including Municipal Affairs, Forestry and Parks, Public Safety, and Emergency Services. We advocate for the establishment of a multi-ministry Provincial Fire Service Advisory Committee to foster a holistic and coordinated approach to wildfire management and emergency services in Alberta.

We are pleased to hear of the Ministers’ commitment to improve and enhance the FireSmart program and its potential to mitigate wildfire risks; however, we express concern over the lack of specifics regarding the extent of support and resources that will be allocated to this critical initiative. Compared to similar programs in other provinces, Alberta’s FireSmart program requires significant expansion and resource allocation to meet the province’s unique needs effectively.

Finally, Minister Loewen’s announcement of 900 wildfire firefighters by April 15th is a step in the right direction; however, we are apprehensive that this may not suffice or be soon enough. In the event of a major fire threatening a community outside of the forested protected area it leaves it up to the municipalities solely seek out and carry the financial burden of additional contractors, or pulling resources from neighboring municipalities, which jeopardizes the assisting community’s ability to be ready for their own emergency events.  

The AFCA remains dedicated to working alongside the government and our partners to enhance Alberta’s wildfire preparedness and response capabilities, ensuring the safety and well-being of all Albertans.


Alberta Fire Chiefs Association

Board of Directors


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