Alberta Fire Chiefs Association
Professionals Serving Professionals
Office of The President
OPEN LETTER TO
Members of the Government of Alberta
Edmonton, Alberta – January 31, 2024
Significant Concern Over Impending Wildfire Season
Dear Honourable Members of the Alberta Government,
With the current dry winter Alberta is experiencing, the Alberta Fire Chiefs Association (AFCA) expresses significant concern regarding the potential for a wildfire season mirroring last year’s devastating events. Alberta has faced an unprecedented wildfire season in 2023, with over 2.5 million hectares of land burned. These wildfires are occurring with greater frequency, intensity, and duration across more expansive areas than in the past. In light of these concerns and environmental projection models the AFCA is urgently calling for disclosure of the provinces’ wildfire preparedness strategy.
Combatting last year’s wildfire season in Alberta brought forth considerable challenges, highlighting the critical need for a comprehensive and proactive approach to wildfire management. The AFCA has met with key Ministries presenting specific asks including additional resources, increased training capacity, equipment, aerials and requesting for the establishment of a Provincial Fire Services Advisory Committee to assist in developing a dedicated provincial strategy to better manage and mitigate the risks associated with wildfire seasons.
The AFCA emphasized with government that reliance on municipalities to financially backstop wildland fire response is not sustainable. With or without federal funding, the AFCA is inquiring about the allocation of additional resources towards wildfire management. There is a growing concern among Fire Chiefs across the province of the lack of communication of what the plan is, allocation of funds compared to previous years and plan for the recruitment and deployment of firefighters and equipment.
The AFCA emphasized the urgency of addressing these concerns before the onset of the wildfire season. It is imperative to have a clear, well-resourced, and collaborative strategy that involves all levels of government to effectively manage and mitigate the risks of wildfires in Alberta.
We remain committed to working alongside provincial authorities, municipalities, and federal agencies to safeguard our communities. We eagerly await a detailed response and action plan that addresses these critical concerns.