WBNP preparing for 2020 Wildfire Season

Issued: April 24, 2020

WBNP preparing for 2020 Wildfire Season

Wood Buffalo National Park’s Fire Management Team is preparing for the 2020 wildfire season, while also being ready to deal with the challenges brought about as a result of the restrictions related to COVID-19. Wildlfire management has been designated as an essential service by the Governments of the NWT and Alberta and by Parks Canada.

Wildfire management practices for the 2020 wildfire season in Wood Buffalo National Park will maintain the same priorities as in previous fire seasons. Our focus remains on:

  • The safety of people
  • The preservation of homes and communities
  • The protection of critical infrastructure
  • The ecological integrity of the landscape of Wood Buffalo National Park

In order to meet these goals, the following preparations have been undertaken to achieve operational readiness while also reducing the risk of the spread of COVID-19.

  • Fire crews have been hired. Four fire crews have been staffed for wildfire operations. Where possible, hiring has been from local communities. If new team members have come from outside the NWT, they have completed self-isolation for 2 weeks prior to starting work.
  • Fire crew training is underway. A modified crew training regime with new physical distancing protocols has been developed.
  • Wildfire response protocols have been revised to take into account COVID-19 restrictions. Fire crews will respond to fires according to standard fire management practices, but will minimize travel between communities as much as possible. Crews will be based in Fort Smith and will stage operations from there.
  • Interagency cooperation has been enhanced. Joint planning with fire management partners in the Government of the NWT and the Government of Alberta is underway to strengthen cooperation and put in place measures to minimize the risk of transmission of COVID-19.

Further information updates will be posted on the Wood Buffalo National Park website. For general information on wildfire management in Wood Buffalo National Park, please visit: https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/nt/woodbuffalo/info/plan/plan2/FAQ