Oregon Firefighters Headed To Canada To Help Fight Wildfires

Salem, Ore. — Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) is sending 22 firefighters to Alberta, Canada to provide extra support in fighting their wildfires through the Northwest Compact, a mutual assistance agreement. Alberta is currently experiencing an influx of fire activity with over 100 active wildfires across the province.

The ODF team will be on a standard, two-week deployment in Alberta and will return with new knowledge on firefighting tactics, refined skills, and stronger relationships with their partners up north. The Northwest Compact was created to facilitate assistance in wildland fire pre-suppression and suppression efforts between member agencies, including Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and the Canadian provinces of Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and the Yukon and Northwest Territories.

Mike Shaw, ODF’s Fire Protection Division Chief, said, “Fire is a family, no matter if it’s in the U.S. or Canada, and we’re here to help.” However, before committing to any deployment, they make sure that their own fire management system is prepared and ready to respond to fires in Oregon.

The relationships built through the Northwest Compact benefit Oregon equally when their fire season hits its peak, and this has been the case for decades. For example, during the 2020 Labor Day wildfires, more than 7,500 personnel from multiple Canadian provinces and 39 states answered Oregon’s call. By creating a cache of reciprocal resources, both Oregon and Alberta can benefit from each other when fire seasons hit hard and resources become strained.

The deployment of the ODF team to Alberta is a prime example of how the Northwest Compact is an effective tool for combating wildfires in the Pacific Northwest and beyond.