NIFC Mobilizes Wildland Firefighters to Assist with Canada Wildfires

Firefighters load their fire gear onto the Canadian airplane at the National Interagency Fire Center. (David Walsh / NIFC External Affairs)

(Republished from NIFC)

The National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) mobilized over 200 wildland firefighters to assist with the Fort McMurray fire in Canada this morning. Five of the crews flew on a Canadian aircraft out of NIFC in Boise, Idaho, at 9:15 a.m. and another five crews flew out of Missoula, Montana this morning. The crews are comprised of Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wildland firefighters.

“We have a bilateral firefighting assistance agreement with the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre, which works well when either country is in need of wildland fire suppression resources. Canada has assisted the U.S. many times in the past, so as soon as Canada requested assistance, we quickly accommodated their request,” says Dan Buckley, NIFC’s National Multi-Agency Coordinating Group Chair.

On May 10, the U.S. mobilized two heavy air tankers and a lead plane to assist with wildfires in Canada. The tankers, based out of Bemidji, Minnesota, flew retardant to wildfires in the Ontario province for one day. In the last 5 years, the U.S. has supported Canada twice. In 2015, NIFC mobilized 200 firefighters and one heavy air tanker and in 2010, 30 smokejumpers and one Type 2 Initial attack crew were sent to Quebec.

Conversely, Canada has provided support for wildfires in the U.S. Over the last five years, the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre (CIFFC) mobilized fire managers, large air tankers, water scoopers, smokejumpers and wildland fire crews, with the exception of 2010, as the U.S. did not request assistance that year.

For information about wildfires burning in Canada, visit the CIFFC website:

Jessica Gardetto