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Alberta Announces Funding to Enhance Wildfire Response Efforts

March 13, 2024  By Dean LaBerge, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grizzly Gazette

With an early start to the 2024 wildfire season in Alberta after an unseasonably warm and dry winter, many of the province’s residents may be feeling somewhat apprehensive about what the spring and summer might bring. With this in mind, the provincial government’s announcement on March 1 (the traditional start of wildfire season) of a substantial investment into wildland firefighting capacity was welcome news.

The newly released 2024 provincial budget is set to bolster Alberta’s wildfire preparedness and response with an additional $151 million over the next three years. This funding will boost the province’s wildland firefighting efforts by adding additional resources like more personnel, aircraft, drones, artificial intelligence (AI), and night-vision technology.

A key focus of this funding will be on enhancing aerial operations, which are crucial in firefighting efforts. The province plans to add two new long-term helicopter contracts, two additional air tanker contracts, and more drones for aerial wildfire surveillance. Additionally, 130 helicopter contracts will be renewed by April 1,

Alberta Wildfire is committed to exploring, researching, and testing new developments in wildfire prevention, mitigation, smoke detection, and suppression. The aim is to evaluate how innovative technologies can facilitate a rapid response and extinguish wildfires. This additional funding will help the province remain on the leading edge of wildfire management.


Looking ahead to future wildfire seasons, the government is considering options to potentially add to the province’s air tanker fleet and trailblaze with new and emerging firefighting technologies.

As Alberta braces for the upcoming wildfire seasons, these funding initiatives will hopefully help position the province to combat wildfires more effectively while protecting its residents, communities, and natural resources.

News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc., 2023


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