As smoke from 87 active wildfires across Alberta descended on Calgary today, it’s important to acknowledge the damage done to Alberta’s firefighting capacity by the UCP government. Since 2019, the UCP has gutted Alberta’s fire fighting capability by a whopping $30-million, roughly a 25% reduction.
Source: CBC / Magda Gawlik
👩🚒The UCP cut funding for firefighter training
In 2020, the UCP government eliminated a half million dollar fund used to train volunteer firefighters. The UCP made the cut in spite of the Alberta Fire Chiefs Association warning that it would “greatly impact services.”
The UCP closed 26 fire watchtowers
Source: The Narwhal / Kyle Brittain
Shortly after their election in 2019 the UCP government closed 26 active fire towers across Alberta. Each tower was responsible for monitoring a 40km radius. Thus cut amounted to a 20% reduction in the number of fire towers.
🚁The UCP axed Alberta’s Firefighter Rappel Team
Residents and a water truck try to douse the hotspots in a home that was lost to fire near Shining Bank, Alta. (Source: CBC)
The UCP eliminated Alberta’s elite wildfire-fighting crew of 63 firefighters stationed across the province. The program had been in service for over 40 years. The UCP made the cuts and ignored warnings from experienced firefighters. Former members of the team say they believe they could have made a difference this year if the program had not been eliminated by the UCP.
🌡️The UCP continue to ignore the threat of climate change
Annual smoke hours for the City of Calgary have increased exponentially over the last decade. According to the Insurance bureau of Canada, the May 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire was by far the costliest insured natural disaster in Canadian history, estimated at $3.58 billion.
Over 600,000 hectares have burned in Alberta this year (more than 4x the amount in all of 2022) and it is not even the peak wildfire season yet.
✉️1) Share this post
Make sure everyone you know understands how the UCP ignored warnings and gutted Alberta wildfire fighting capability contributing to this year's out of control wildfires.
🗳️2) Make a plan to vote on Monday, May 29th
Register to vote and find out everything you need to know about voting at Elections Alberta.
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