Today marks the end of the 2023 wildland fire season that saw more than 700 fires and 441,000 hectares of forests burned between April and October. That is almost three times as many hectares as the 10-year average.
“Ontario’s FireRangers and other emergency management staff worked bravely and tirelessly to fight wildland fires during one of the most challenging fire seasons Ontario and Canada has ever faced,” said Graydon Smith, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry. “I’m thankful for their hard work and proud of the incredible dedication they show every day on the job as they protect our communities and natural resources.”
Over the course of the season, Ontario was not only able to protect our people, property and natural resources from wildland fires, we were also able to deploy equipment and more than 600 fire management personnel to support our partners in Alberta, British Columbia, Northwest Territories, Quebec, Yukon, Nova Scotia and Minnesota in their firefighting efforts.
In return, Ontario received assistance from 104 fire personnel from Mexico, Idaho and the Canadian Forest Service, as well as firefighting aircraft from Minnesota and the Northwest Territories.
Ontario is an internationally recognized leader in wildland fire management and coordinates the protection of 90 million hectares of Crown land in Ontario.
- During the 2023 season, there were 741 fires – 51 fires more than the 10-year average – and 441,474 hectares of forests were burned.
- Ontario recently invested an additional $20.5 million over three years to enhance fire suppression technologies, hire and train critical fire staff and help better understand fire science and behaviour.
- The government is also looking at how it can make staffing improvements, such as providing more psychological support, paying for recruitment and training expenses and reviewing some collective agreement entitlements.
- Ontario has increased its base funding for 2023-2024 by $35 million for emergency forest firefighting. Since 2018, the Ontario government increased its commitment for funding Emergency Fire Preparedness by more than 92 per cent.
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