PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – More than 20 Oregon firefighters deployed to Canada Monday to help battle wildfires across Alberta, the Oregon Department of Forestry said.
The firefighters will be deployed through the Northwest Compact, a mutual assistance agreement that allows Oregon and other Pacific Northwest states and nearby Canadian provinces and territories to share resources with one another.
Currently, there are more than 100 wildfires burning across Alberta. Of those, at least 14 are “larger wildfires,” ODF said.
ODF said lightning and high winds along with dryer and warmer conditions have created prime conditions for wildfire, even this early in the season and the province’s resources are spread thin.
The firefighters from Oregon will serve a two-week deployment in Alberta.
“Fire is a family, no matter if it’s in the U.S. or Canada, and we’re here to help,” said Mike Shaw, ODF’s fire protection division chief. “But keep in mind that, before committing to any deployment, we make sure that our own fire management system is prepared and ready to respond to fires here in Oregon.”
In 2022, during the Double Creek Fire, British Columbia sent resources to Oregon to help through the Northwest Compact. During the 2020 Labor Day wildfires, more than 7,500 wildfire personnel from several Canadian provinces and 39 states responded to Oregon to help.
Blake Ellis, fire operations manager for the Fire Protection Division said this regional cache of resources shared between the Pacific Northwest and Canada benefit both countries when resources become strained.