Internal and external reviews of Alberta’s wildfire management program are conducted periodically to ensure progressive and responsive actions. These reviews provide government with recommendations to:

  • Evolve and adapt to opportunities, threats and realities
  • Assess program performance
  • Identify areas for improvement

2011 Flat Top Complex – Three wildfires in the Slave Lake area

The Final Report from the Flat Top Complex Wildfire Review Committee assesses provincial response to the wildfires that entered the Town of Slave Lake and nearby communities of Canyon Creek, Poplar Estates and Widewater in May 2011.

The report also provides 21 recommendations on how the department can improve its wildfire management program:

On September 26, 2013, the Government of Alberta formally accepted all 21 recommendations contained in the Flat Top Complex Wildfire Review Committee report.

Agriculture and Forestry has already started implementation on 13 of the 21 recommendations within its regular budget. The department has secured $18 million in new money to commence work to implement the remaining eight recommendations that required additional funding.

The majority of these funds will be allocated towards enhancing firefighting capacity and FireSmart initiatives:

  • Approximately $7 million will be allocated towards hazardous fuel reduction programs in forested areas near communities.
  • The other $11 million will be allocated to initiatives to enhance wildfire operations, including increasing the number of firefighters and specialized firefighting crews, enhancing decision making systems, and supporting airtanker and camp operations.

Additional funds will be requested in upcoming years to complete implementation. The total funding request is anticipated to be approximately $705 million, of which approximately $500 million will be for hazardous fuel reduction treatments (FireSmart).

Alberta is committed to implementing each of these recommendations to better protect Albertans, communities, natural resources, and other values from wildfires.

Background: Flat Top Complex

  • From May 11 to 15, 2011, the province fought 52 wildfires within the Lesser Slave Area along with 137 other wildfires occurring in other Alberta regions. All provincial wildfires occurring during that period were human caused.
  • Three of the wildfires that started in the Lesser Slave Area were known collectively as the "Flat Top Complex".
  • Two of the wildfires in the Flat Top Complex entered communities, including
    • Canyon Creek
    • Widewater
    • Poplar Estates
    • Town of Slave Lake
  • Most of the damage occurred on May 15, 2011 in the Town of Slave Lake.
  • This wildfire event is the most costly wildfire disaster in Canada’s history with over $700 million in insurable losses.

Media Release


Updated: Nov 18, 2014