Indigenous individuals pursue firefighting training to protect communities

In several communities in Canada, Indigenous individuals are pursuing firefighter training to combat wildfires. The Government of Canada recently made a $28M commitment to a two-year pilot program, which will support the training of 1,000 new community-based firefighters. The Prince Albert Grand Council in Saskatchewan is training 125 Indigenous fire stewards, while Yukon First Nations Wildfire will run an intensive training program–including training on cultural burning–for 130 wildland firefighters. Nova Scotia’s Department of Natural Resources and Renewables and the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Center recently collaborated with Mi’kmaq communities in NS to deliver wildland fire fighting training to Indigenous fire departments so that they are prepared to combat large forest fires. In Quebec, some Cree communities are receiving training from the Société de protection des forêts contre le feu (SOPFEU). With the SOPFEU training, students will work as auxiliary forest firefighters, putting out “hotspots” or small fires while under SOPFEU supervision.

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