Fire Fighting in Canada

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Premier says no state of emergency over forest fires

July 22, 2011, Thunder Bay, Ont. – Premier Dalton McGuinty says there's no need to declare a state of emergency to deal with forest fires that have driven thousands of people from their communities in northwestern Ontario.

July 22, 2011
By The Canadian Press

July 22, 2011, Thunder Bay, Ont. – Premier Dalton McGuinty says there's no need to declare a state of emergency to deal with forest fires that have driven thousands of people from their communities in northwestern Ontario.

McGuinty is in the region today to survey the damage and talk with fire personnel, volunteers and evacuees.

The premier said in Dryden that the province is doing everything it can to support firefighters and evacuees.

McGuinty says that includes helping out with aircraft and providing financial support for the effort.

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The premier will also visit Thunder Bay later today.

He left a premiers' conference in Vancouver two days early, saying he wanted to make sure all assistance possible is offered to those affected by the fires.

More than 3,000 people have been evacuated due to heavy smoke and fast moving flames, with many destined for communities far from home.

The province says 114 fires are burning over nearly 500,000 hectares of forest, mostly in the northwest, though showers have brought some temporary relief in many of the blazes.

About 2,000 firefighters and support staff, including close to 600 personnel from other provinces, are battling the fires.

Most out-of-province firefighters are from British Columbia, which sent another 74 to Ontario on Thursday, bumping its total contribution to well over 500.

Sixteen water bombers and 85 other aircraft are involved in the operation.

Ontario has deployed a special medical team to Thunder Bay, where evacuees are initially being sent.


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