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Ontario Bolsters Wildland Fire fighting Efforts Ahead of 2024 Season

TORONTO  — As Ontario braces for the onset of the wildland fire season, the provincial government has unveiled a comprehensive strategy to fortify firefighting capabilities and safeguard communities against the threat of wildfires.

With the official commencement of the wildland fire season on April 1, Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has announced a series of proactive measures aimed at enhancing preparedness and response.

“Throughout the fire season, Ontario’s firefighting staff work tirelessly – under very difficult conditions – to keep people, communities, and property safe,” remarked Graydon Smith, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, highlighting the critical role of frontline workers.

In recognition of their dedication and bravery, the government is offering an incentive payment of up to $5,000 to employees in front-line fire, aviation, and critical support positions for the 2024 fire season.

Key initiatives outlined in the government’s strategy include the creation of over 100 permanent positions within the wildland fire program. These positions are designed to meet the escalating demands of increasingly complex fire seasons while providing career advancement opportunities for fire rangers and support staff.

Furthermore, Ontario has invested in acquiring new equipment to bolster firefighting efforts. “The start of the fire season is an important time to recognize how important these fire crews are and the brave work they perform to keep the public safe,” added Minister Smith.

Recognizing the challenges faced by firefighters during the previous wildland fire season, the government has expanded eligibility for standby pay and will reimburse eligible expenses for training and specialized safety equipment.

A significant portion of the government’s investment, totaling $20.5 million over three years, has been allocated towards enhancing aerial technologies. These enhancements will facilitate a better understanding of evolving fire science and behavior, thereby enabling more efficient wildfire management.

Caroline Mulroney, President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for Emergency Management, emphasized the importance of collaborative efforts in enhancing emergency preparedness and response. “We are working closely with municipalities, First Nations communities, and partners to ensure the people of Ontario are safe, practiced, and prepared for the upcoming wildland fire season,” stated Minister Mulroney.

The announcement also provided insights into the prevalence of wildland fires in Ontario, with human activity being the cause of approximately 50% of all incidents. Last year, over 700 wildland fires were reported, resulting in the burning of more than 440,000 hectares of forests, nearly triple the 10-year average.

Ontario’s renowned leadership in wildland fire management is underscored by its extensive resources, including highly trained staff and a fleet of specialized aircraft dedicated to suppressing wildfires.

As the province gears up for another wildland fire season, collaboration with various stakeholders, including Indigenous communities, emergency organizations, and agencies, remains central to Ontario’s wildfire management strategy. By pooling resources and expertise, Ontario aims to effectively mitigate the risks posed by wildfires and ensure the safety and resilience of its communities.

Samantha Deschamps

Samantha Deschamps serves as the Queens Park Reporter, offering insightful coverage of provincial politics with depth and accuracy. With a keen understanding of legislative intricacies, Deschamps provides invaluable perspectives on matters affecting Ontario. For inquiries or feedback, contact Samantha at

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