Manitoba too busy fighting its own wildfires to send resources to Alberta
'We only have enough resources to work in Manitoba,' says provincial government official
Manitoba government officials say they cannot send any wildfire-fighting resources to wildfire-devastated Fort McMurray, Alta., because the fire threat in this province is too high.
"At this time we only have enough resources to work in Manitoba," Gary Friesen, manager of the fire program with Manitoba Sustainable Development, told reporters on Wednesday afternoon.
"We do, as a matter of routine, share resources with each other. Unfortunately, that's only as you can or able to with your own forest fire situation."
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Friesen said despite two precipitation events early this spring, and "normal to slightly below normal snowfall over winter," conditions in Manitoba are currently dry.
"Our situation is nowhere near as critical as it is in western … Canada, but we are drying. We are drying more every day. We've had 28 fires to date that we've actioned," he said.
Provincial crews have also been called in to help municipalities deal with fires in the outskirts of communities, said Friesen.
As well, the province has stopped issuing burn permits and cancelled existing ones, while the number of rural municipalities with burn bans in place continues to grow.
'New fires every day'
"We're continuing to work towards containing some of these fires. There's no real suppression issues at this time, but we keep getting new fires every day," Friesen said.
"What's compounding this situation with respect to us is the lack of rainfall and the low relative humidities, the higher temperatures that are forecasted for the coming days as well as the winds."
"But until then, and until we receive some precipitation, we're definitely on a drying trend."
The Manitoba government works with the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre, a Winnipeg-based agency that co-ordinates requests for assistance from provinces that have exceeded their internal firefighting capacity.
An official with the centre told CBC News earlier on Wednesday that it has received requests from Alberta for equipment and crews. The equipment is expected to come from British Columbia, while Ontario will send the personnel.