Alberta reviews wildfire response measures

June 9 (UPI) — The provincial government of Alberta said it was following recommendations on wildfire response, a year after blazes sidelined 1 million barrels of oil per day.

The government said it was adopting a list of 31 recommendations made by independent reviewers for how it responds to wildfires.

Alberta lies at the center of Canada’s oil sector and blazes in and around Fort McMurray last year sidelined about 1 million barrels per day in oil production at its peak. That would represent about a quarter of the total Canadian oil production by today’s standards.

Outside of the oil sector, the government estimated about 4,000 small businesses were impacted by the wildfires in an area that contributes about $70 billion to national gross domestic product.

Over the next three years, the government said it would spend $7.4 million to implement the recommendations.

“As a government, it is our duty to take a close look at what happened and identify any enhancements that can be made to further support the extraordinary efforts of our wildland firefighters and emergency response staff and help ensure the safety and well-being of Albertans,” Agriculture and Forestry Minister Oneil Carlier said in a statement.

More than 1,300 wildfires were recorded last year and the government estimated that about 60 percent of those were triggered by human activity. The majority of the funds needed to implement the third-party recommendations are covered in the existing provincial budget.

Alberta declared March 1 as the official start of wildfire season.

— Besttopic

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