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Ottawa approves Nova Scotia's request for federal assistance combating wildfires


Ottawa has approved a request for federal assistance from Nova Scotia to support the province’s efforts to combat multiple out of control wildfires.

In a letter to the prime minister Wednesday, Premier Tim Houston asked for urgent help from Ottawa and other provinces.

“Nova Scotia is a province in crisis,” read the letter.

On Friday, a news release from the federal government stated Minister of National Defence Anita Anand has authorized the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) to provide:

  • planning and coordination support
  • ignition specialist personnel and equipment
  • personnel and tools to aid in basic firefighting roles

“An Immediate Response Unit, from 2nd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment, based out of Gagetown, New Brunswick, will be available to assist with basic firefighting. A CAF Liaison Officer is already integrated into the Provincial Emergency Operations Centre to help assess the situation and assist with planning efforts,” reads the news release.

CAF will assist Nova Scotia for the next three weeks, with the possibility of a one-week extension, according to the news release.

“Our assistance to the province of Nova Scotia, as they fight these unpredictable and devastating fires, is a tangible demonstration of the CAF's dedication to their ongoing readiness to assist civil authorities in times of natural disaster," said Anand.

When it comes to managing the wildfires, Bill Blair, president of the King’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Emergency Preparedness, said “it’s all hands on deck.”

"We recognize how traumatic and impactful displacement and evacuation can be for people who have had to flee their homes and the great anxiety this can cause. I am very grateful for the work of all of our first responders, firefighters, community volunteers, and the Canadian Red Cross and other local organizations,” said Blair.

The federal government has also committed to providing the following supports:

  • Parks Canada currently has resources deployed to support various partner agencies and will continue to coordinate with Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre (CIFFC) on all future requests for resource.
  • Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) is prepared to provide contracting support to the province for supplies and logistics.
  • Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) is prepared to support impacted Canadians with enhanced Service Canada hours, outreach to evacuees, and deployment of mobile outreach to evacuation centres to support applications for services, such as employment insurance. ESDC is prioritizing employment insurance claims for those impacted. Additional procedures are in place to facilitate employment insurance claims where employers are not able to issue records of employment or where paper cheques may not be deliverable as a result of emergency situations.
  • Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) continues to support affected First Nations through the Emergency Management Assistance Program (EMAP). Through EMAP, ISC keeps in close contact with affected First Nations and can advance funds or reimburse them for eligible expenses as needs are identified during daily communications with leadership and other partners, such as tribal councils as well as with the province.
  • Public Health Agency of Canada's (PHAC) National Emergency Strategic Stockpile (NESS), is engaged and standing by to assist with the delivery of any additional resources that can be leveraged.
  • Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) regional staff are on the ground and working with the province and telecommunications service providers to keep people connected.
  • Health Canada has deployed six air quality monitors to Nova Scotia to provide additional air quality monitoring capacity during emergency response efforts.
  • The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), as Nova Scotia's provincial police service, has been engaged in the response to the wildfires since the outset by assisting with evacuation efforts and road closures, publicly communicating vital public safety information, proactively patrolling communities to ensure safety and adherence to mandatory evacuation orders, and providing assistance to all partner agencies involved.
  • Transport Canada (TC) will work with provincial officials to better understand the needs for potential flexibility in federal regulations to address any gaps in emergency firefighting and evacuations while ensuring aviation safety is maintained. TC has issued one Notice to Airmen in support of aerial forest fire suppression in Nova Scotia and will continue to support the efforts of the authorities in order to ensure the safety of aerial operations.
  • The Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) currently has response personnel and assets deployed to provide support to the Province of Nova Scotia in the form of Mobile Incident Command Post trailers, crew support trailers and helicopters for airlifts and aerial surveillance.
  • Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) will continue providing weather forecasting capabilities to the Nova Scotia Emergency Management Office.

The government says it is continuing to assess what additional resources can be made available through other federal departments and agencies.

For more Nova Scotia news visit our dedicated regional page. Top Stories

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