A new report on the Wood Buffalo wildfire is giving Alberta fire chiefs a lot to chew on when it comes to prevention of a similar disaster.
Alberta Fire Chiefs Association executive director is Bill Purdy. He tells the Alberta Morning News the report will help them make recommendations that will fill holes in Alberta’s current Fire Smart Program.
“And that Fire Smart Program has some really good effects on things, but it’s still not really what is required.” said Purdy. “I that’s think what’s required is we’ve got to really start looking at our communities that are vulnerable, fix them up, and that’s what that Fire Smart Program is all about.”
Fire chiefs are also trying to learn how to better respond should the worst occur. Purdy said the Association, along with other agencies, is compiling a report of its own in 2017.
“To determine exactly what kind of equipment is in the various communities.” Purdy said. “There’s just about 400 fire departments in Alberta, and we want to get an inventory of what equipment they have, would they be available to help somebody else.”
Purdy says 37 fire departments coordinated resources, including equipment and manpower, to battle the Wood Buffalo blaze. And he says, of the thousands of firefighters who responded, the report shows that many are still struggling with post-traumatic stress.
In early May, the Fort McMurray wildfire forced the evacuation of nearly 90,000 area residents, and burned about 10% of the city to ground.