NS Wildfires - Ottawa Approves Federal Assistance


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


In a letter to the prime minister on Wednesday, Prime Minister Tim Houston requested urgent help from Ottawa and other provinces.


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


On Friday, a federal government press release said Defense Minister Anita Anand authorized the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) to provide:


planning and coordination support

ignition specialist personnel and equipment

personnel and tools to assist in basic firefighting functions

“An Immediate Response Unit, from 2nd Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment, based in Gagetown, New Brunswick, will be on hand to assist with basic firefighting. A CAF Liaison Officer is already embedded in the Provincial Emergency Operations Center to help assess the situation and assist with planning efforts,” the press release read.


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


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


When it comes to managing bushfires, Bill Blair, chairman of Canada’s King’s Privy Council and Minister for Emergency Preparedness, said “everyone is 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 so grateful for the work of all our first responders, firefighters, community volunteers and the Canadian Red Cross and other local organizations,” Blair said.


The federal government has also pledged to provide the following supports:


Parks Canada currently has resources deployed to support various partner agencies and will continue to coordinate with the Canadian Interagency Bushfire Center (CIFFC) on all future requests for resources.

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 affected Canadians with enhanced Service Canada hours, evacuee outreach and mobile outreach deployment to evacuation centers to support requests for services such as employment insurance . ESDC is prioritizing employment insurance claims for those affected. There are additional procedures to facilitate employment insurance claims when employers are unable to issue employment records or when paper checks cannot be delivered as a result of emergency situations.

Indigenous Services of Canada (ISC) continues to support affected First Nations through the Emergency Management Assistance Program (EMAP). Through EMAP, ISC maintains close contact with affected First Nations and is able to advance funds or reimburse them for eligible expenses as needs are identified during daily communications with leadership and other partners such as tribal councils and the province .

The Public Health Agency of Canada’s (PHAC) National Emergency Strategic Stockpile (NESS) is engaged and ready to assist with the delivery of any additional resources that can be tapped.

Regional Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) staff are on the ground 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 involved in the bushfire response from the beginning by assisting with evacuation efforts and road closures, publicly communicating vital public safety information, proactively patrolling communities to ensure safety. and complying with 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 fire suppression and emergency evacuations while ensuring aviation safety is maintained. TC has issued a Notice to Airmen in support of aerial wildfire suppression in Nova Scotia and will continue to support law enforcement efforts to ensure the safety of air operations.

The Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) currently has responders 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 airlift and aerial surveillance. .

Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) will continue to provide weather forecasting capabilities to the Nova Scotia Office of Emergency Management.

The government says it is continuing to evaluate what additional resources may be available through other federal departments and agencies.


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