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  • The government without a plan for forest fire season

GUELPH — Mike Schreiner made the following statement regarding the start of Ontario’s forest fire season on April 1.

“It’s officially forest fire season in Ontario, and our communities are gearing up for another record-breaking year.

Despite months of stark warnings, this government is asleep at the wheel. Their handful of half-baked, last-minute measures completely fail to meet the moment.

Once again, I am calling on the government to develop a credible forest fire action plan – in consultation with first responders and Indigenous communities – that includes:

  • Increased funding for both emergency response and preparedness measures to boost access to PPE, training and equipment, and to hire and retain more wildland fire staff;
  • The creation of a dedicated climate adaptation fund to help municipalities make infrastructure climate-ready and reduce the risk of future environmental hazards;
  • Classifying wildland fire rangers as firefighters so they are eligible for better pay and health coverage;
  • A commitment to get Ontario off fossil gas and invest in cheaper, cleaner renewables and Indigenous-led climate solutions; and
  • Enhanced data collection regarding the public health impacts of forest fires.

It’s long past time for this government to stop stalling and start acting. People’s lives and livelihoods depend on it.”

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