The Ontario government has announced an additional $100 million to help fight forest fires in the area and across the province.
The Progressive Conservatives say that since April, the province has seen an escalated forest fire situation across central, northern and northwestern Ontario.
"This money will pay for continued fire response efforts, which includes supplies and equipment used to suppress the fire and the work of support personnel and MNRF fire rangers," said Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry Jeff Yurek.
"It will also fund further assistance from our out-of-province and international partners so we can continue to fight the fires aggressively on the ground and in the air. Our number one priority is the safety of the public and the protection of communities and private property.”
Almost 1,000 firefighters from Ontario are currently being assisted by about 480 firefighters and support staff, as well as aircraft and other equipment, from other provinces, Parks Canada, American states, and Mexico.
This comes after NDP MPP John Vanthof called on the Ford government to assure that the province will provide all necessary resources to protect northern communities from one of the province’s worst fire seasons in memory.
“We greatly appreciate the heroic efforts of the fire rangers, water bomber crews, volunteers, community members and everyone who is risking their lives, and in one case sacrificing their life, to fight the fires,” said Vanthof. “Our deepest sympathy goes to the Gadwa family.”
Jerry Gadwa, from the Kehewin Cree Nation in Alberta, died while helping to fight fires in Northwestern Ontario, near Red Lake. Jerry Gadwa was a 20-year veteran firefighter and father of a 10-year-old boy.
“Can this government assure them that the province will institute measures to help them survive this disaster?” Vanthof added, in question period at Queen’s Park.
Annually, Ontario provides base funding of almost $70 million to fight forest fires.
The forest fire hazard is high to extreme across most of the region with an area of low to moderate hazard in the far north of Red Lake, Sioux Lookout and Nipigon districts. There are currently 63 active fires in the region.
The Restricted Fire Zone remains in place across the region until further notice, to reduce the possibility of unwanted human-caused forest fires.
For more information:
Restricted Fire Zone in effect
Province thanks fallen firefighter