2015 Fire Season and Wildfire Management Program Review

The 2015 fire season was extraordinary in terms of wildfire conditions, number of wildfires, number of hectares burned, and expenditures. A review was completed of the extreme fire season, the Province’s wildfire management program, and its response to the recommendations provided in the Flat Top Complex Wildfire Review Committee Final Report. The findings are provided in two reports (summary and detailed).

The Province is implementing initiatives that respond to the recommendations provided in the reports, and remains committed to continual improvement in order to reduce the risk of wildfires to Albertans, communities, natural resources, and other values.

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Recommendation 1: Revisit the province’s strategy respecting FireSmart with an increased emphasis on a long term vision for FireSmart within the province, community responsibility, multi-agency collaboration and an outcomes based approach to implementing FireSmart projects.

Highlights of Implementation

  • Identified that approximately $15 million per year would be allocated over a 3-year period to the FireSmart program ending in fiscal year 2020-2021.
  • Continued engagement with municipalities, Municipal Affairs, Alberta Association of Municipalities Districts and Counties, Alberta Urban Municipal Alberta, Indigenous Services Canada and the Office of the Fire Commissioner to implement FireSmart.
  • Signed agreement between Agriculture and Forestry and Indigenous Services Canada for FireSmart and wildfire management in Indigenous communities within the Forest Protection Area.
  • Continued commitment to Canadian Wildland Fire Strategy.
  • Hosted the 2018 FireSmart Community Series in Fort McMurray.

= Fully met the intent of the recommendation. Ongoing implementation.

= In progress

Recommendation 2: Develop robust communication plans and protocols for both pre-fire season prevention awareness, as well as facts and advisories associated with wildfire events.

Highlights of Implementation

  • Established a permanent provincial wildfire information team, which includes information coordinators in all 10 Forest Areas and a provincial wildfire information unit.
  • Provide real-time online updates regarding wildfire status, when permitted.
  • Updated fire ban system.
  • Developing provincial communications plans, protocols and procedures.
  • Improvements to the Alberta Wildfire App and albertafirebans.ca

= Fully met the intent of the recommendation. Ongoing implementation.

= In progress

Recommendation 3: Develop and implement a formal wildfire risk management framework.

Highlights of Implementation

  • Enhanced the Sustained Action Planning Group with the establishment of an intelligence unit to support the setting of provincial priorities for wildfire management activities.
  • Enhancements to risk management planning, including creation and maintenance of risk management plan, as well as implementation of ISO 31000.
  • Modernization of decision support tools is underway.
  • Development of wildfire management plans is underway for all 10 Forest Areas (3 are completed).

= Fully met the intent of the recommendation. Ongoing implementation.

= In progress

Recommendation 4: Establish an analyst role within the Forestry Division that can provide assistance in the area of cost analysis, cost control and efficiency. The individual or group must have capabilities in financial management and operational wildfire program delivery, and must remain at arm’s length from the operations organization.

Highlights of Implementation

  • Established Business Analyst role which provides analysis and recommendations regarding the financial needs of Wildfire Management Branch

= Fully met the intent of the recommendation. Ongoing implementation.

= In progress


Updated: Feb 15, 2019