This season is projected to be Canada’s worst wildfire season to date. Fires are burning in multiple provinces and territories throughout the country including here in Ontario. 169 fires have been recorded in Ontario so far this season. Comparatively this time last year there were only 79 fires recorded. As of June 6, 2023 there are 31 active wildland fires across Northeastern Ontario. Of these 21 are not yet under control. There are 21 active fires in the Northwestern Region and only 8 of them are under control. These wildfires vary in size and have left trails of devastation in their wake. 33,945 hectares of land has been burned compared to only 2,444 hectares burned by June 2022. The wildfires have already caused millions of dollars worth of damages to homes, businesses and institutions. Thousands of people have been displaced. Indigenous communities in Northern Ontario have sent the most vulnerable community members away in buses to Southern Ontario to escape the smoke.
Additional resources are needed to contain these fires. Ontario firefighters as well as backstopped firefighters from other jurisdictions are responding however there is a chronic shortage of apparatus and equipment. GlobalMedic has previously launched programs in response to Canadian wildfires including in British Columbia and Alberta. GlobalMedic is working with our sister agency, GlobalFire, to create an immediate resolution to the shortage of equipment and make resources available where they are needed.
We are procuring fire fighting skids which can be deployed as needed to increase the resources available to fight wildfires. Skids are specialty made units that have 1,000L water tanks, pumps and hoses that can be placed onto the back of pickup trucks and Utility Task Vehicles (UTVs) turning the vehicles into firefighting apparatus.
This equipment is made available to smaller municipalities, fire departments and Indigenous communities that need to bolster their current capacity. When wildfire season is over, the equipment is returned to us for maintenance and storage until it is needed next season. This project will create a lending library of equipment that can be used by multiple departments, reaching the areas of greatest need.