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Alberta to add firefighters for expected busy wildfire season: minister

Todd Loewen says communities will have to become more fire smart
Burnt out trucks from a wildfire sit on a property near Drayton Valley, Alta., Wednesday, May 10, 2023. Alberta Wildfire says it saw an average number of wildfires last year, but the area burned across the province set a record. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Alberta’s forestry minister says the province plans to field more firefighters and volunteers as it braces for what it expects will be another busy wildfire season.

And Todd Loewen says it looks like more of the same in the future as Alberta’s climate gets drier and warmer.

He says communities will have to become more fire smart and forestry companies may have to adjust their harvesting practices.

Loewen says the government will be “a little more aggressive” in declaring fire bans.

The government has already said fire crews will be in place earlier this year.

There are 57 wildfires burning in Alberta already, 54 of which are carry-over fires from last season that have sprung into flame after smouldering underground over the winter.

Last week, Alberta’s fire chiefs criticized Loewen for not sharing details of the province’s wildfire preparedness plans.

Loewen says he was surprised by the letter and plans to meet with the group.

The Canadian Press