Firefighters from P.E.I. head west to assist with Alberta wildfires

·2 min read
This grassfire in southwest Alberta in March forced the evacuation of the village of Carmangay. (Kyle Brittain/The Weather Network - image credit)
This grassfire in southwest Alberta in March forced the evacuation of the village of Carmangay. (Kyle Brittain/The Weather Network - image credit)

Prince Edward Island has sent two firefighters to Alberta to help out with wildfires there.

Mike Montigny, manager of field services with the P.E.I. Department of Environment, said the firefighters were dispatched to provide respite to Alberta firefighters, who have been battling wildfires for months.

"They're out there basically giving the folks some relief, knowing that there's still a lot of summer left," said Montigny.

"The guys from Alberta, they're tired."

Alberta put in a request for assistance to the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre, based in Winnipeg. The centre coordinates with jurisdictions across the country to get firefighters to where they are needed.

In this case, P.E.I. was able to provide some team leaders.

"They're not out there actually at the end of a hose this time. Both of the folks that are out there are experienced so we're using them at a higher-level capacity this time," said Montigny.

"They're working in more of a supervisory role."

The situation in Alberta is not as bad as it is in British Columbia right now. Firefighters have been helped recently by some rain. The goal is to get the current fires out before the Alberta crew returns to work, so that they can start fresh.

'Sense of comradery'

Montigny has worked in other provinces himself, and he said it was a special experience.

"There's a sense of camaraderie. There's a sense of pride knowing that you're coming from your home province and you're trying to help out another province in Canada," he said.

Laura Meader/CBC
Laura Meader/CBC

"Everyone is there for the same reasons and we're trying to accomplish something that's bigger than each one of us."

At the same time, he said, you're counting the days until you can go home.

Wildfires are being driven by record-high temperatures in western Canada, conditions that are expected to become more common with climate change.

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