The Canadian Forces is working to find a way to keep campfire-fueled fires alive, but that could take decades.
The National Research Council, a government body that advises the federal government on science, released a report this week that called for an urgent rethink of how Canada prepares for disasters and said there’s no way to eliminate fires entirely.
The council also recommends the Canadian military should focus on protecting Canada’s waterways and coastal communities from the effects of the fire season.
In the report, the council said there are “significant risks to Canada’s national and regional economies” as a result of the increased wildfire season and climate change.
“In particular, the economic impacts on Canadians in the wake of a major wildfire season are significant, with the average loss to Canada from a wildfire season occurring between one-third and one-half,” the report said.
“These losses are likely to be greater for smaller and less densely populated communities than larger communities.”
The council warned the wildfire season has already resulted in the loss of millions of dollars in funding, lost jobs, and lost economic activity.
“There is a growing body of evidence that the economic consequences of wildfires may be more severe for the less affluent communities that are least exposed to the threat of fires,” the council wrote.
The report said the wildfire threat is exacerbated by the fact that more than 70 per cent of Canadians have no fire protection equipment, and many homes have no gas and electricity.
“The impact of wildfire is often compounded by the lack of knowledge and awareness of fire management practices,” the study said.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said the Royal Canadian Air Force is using its best information on fire risk to ensure its aircrews have proper firefighting training and equipment.
“We have deployed a fleet of firefighting aircraft that have proven their capabilities and have made an invaluable contribution to the fight against the fires,” a spokesperson for the RCMP said in a statement.
“Our firefighters and emergency responders are trained and prepared to respond to fires in the most severe and most remote locations, and we have established a safe, well-equipped and coordinated response.”
The Royal Winnipeg Garrison said its firefighting team is “trained and equipped to respond effectively to the most challenging fire conditions, with proven skills and expertise in all aspects of the environment, including hydrology, geography, and geography, fire and weather, hydrology and climate, fire suppression and other firefighting related fields.”
In the past, the military has provided firefighting equipment, including helmets, firefighting gear, and water and food rations, to soldiers who served overseas.
But there’s a big gap between the costs of the equipment and the money the soldiers are spending on their own gear.
The military, which is funded by a range of different sources including the Canadian Forces, is also spending money on its own firefighting and fire safety program.
“It’s a little bit more expensive,” said Andrew Fagan, an analyst with the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.
“But you’re going to see some really effective things happen in the coming months, and it’s going to take some time.”
He said the government needs to do a better job of training its own soldiers.
“I don’t think we can just rely on the military to be able to do this.
We have to be investing in the infrastructure, in the education, in training and in the technology, and I think we need to do that, too,” he said.