Local News

Over A Dozen MN Firefighters Help Battle Canadian Wildfires

2023.07.03_Crew group photo_5
Photo: MN DNR

[ST. PAUL, MN] – Governor Tim Walz announced Monday, July 3rd, that Minnesota sent a crew of 17 wildland firefighters to Manitoba, Canada. The hand crew was deployed after a mutual aid request from Manitoba through the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) partnership with the Great Lakes Forest Fire Compact.

Thank you to the Minnesota wildland firefighters who answered the call to help our neighbors in the north,”said Governor Walz.  We have a strong partnership and will continue to do everything we can to share resources and contain the Canadian wildfires.”

“Canada is experiencing a historic fire season this year and I’m proud that our DNR wildland firefighters are ready to protect life and property in Minnesota and beyond, whenever the call comes in,” DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen said. “The Minnesota DNR’s partnership with Canada and with our neighboring states ensures we can quickly and efficiently share resources to respond to wildfires throughout the region.”

The crew, which departed from the Minnesota Interagency Fire Center in Grand Rapids, will support Canada’s ongoing wildfire suppression efforts. Upon arriving in Manitoba, they will receive their initial assignment to support ground suppression efforts, likely helping establish fire fuel breaks in the remote backcountry.

These international mutual aid agreements, established through the Great Lakes Forest Fire compact, enable the partnering states and provinces – Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, Manitoba, and Ontario – to share firefighting resources upon request throughout the Great Lakes region. The partnership allows for cooperation and collaboration as well as learning and training experiences for staff to hone their skills and expertise. During Minnesota’s extensive 2021 wildfire season, DNR contacted the compact for additional support and received access to engines, aircraft, and firefighters.

When considering the deployment of wildland firefighters and resources beyond Minnesota, DNR coordinates closely with Minnesota’s interagency federal and tribal wildland fire management partners to ensure response needs in the state are covered before committing resources for out-of-state response.