Thunder Bay – WILDFIRE UPDATE – The growing forest fire situation across the region has more help arriving. First are firefighters from Nova Scotia.
Now there are also firefighters coming to the region from Mexico to help knock out the wildfires.
More than 100 firefighters and support staff from Mexico will arrive in Toronto on July 17 to help Ontario in its fight against several large forest fires in the Northwest.
The Mexican fire crews will be briefed on fire, safety and COVID-19 protocols before receiving their fire assignments. The firefighters will be required to follow the health and safety guidelines recommended by the Chief Medical Officer of Health, such as physical distancing, frequent hand washing, and daily self-assessments. The Mexican fire crews will also remain in their own cohort.
“The Canadian Interagency Mutual Aid Resources Sharing Agreement as well as agreements between the government of Canada and its international partners for the exchange of wildland fire resources, are coordinated by the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre (CIFFC),” said Kim Connors, Executive Director of CIFFC. “The intention is to ensure the distribution of resources when and where most needed. This agreement with Mexico, made it possible for CIFFC to coordinate the deployment of 103 Mexican firefighting staff to Ontario.”
“We are thankful for the brave efforts of Ontario’s forest firefighters and all the people that support their efforts to keep our Northern communities safe,” said Greg Rickford, Minister of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry. “Keeping people safe and protecting property is our top priority.”
Due to extreme fire hazard and increased forest fire activity, an Emergency Area Order has been issued for all of Northwestern Ontario. The order will allow the ministry to take special measures to ensure the safety of people and the protection of critical infrastructure.
The Restricted Fire Zone for the Northwest remains in place, residents are reminded to do their part and refrain from having outdoor fires – this includes burning of grass, debris and campfires, even when using an outdoor fire grate, fireplace or fire pit. These restrictions are in place to reduce the number of preventable human-caused fires and lower the risk of wildfires impacting the public.