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HomeNewsCounty of Grande Prairie allocates $425,000 for Regional Fire Service staffing costs

County of Grande Prairie allocates $425,000 for Regional Fire Service staffing costs

The County of Grande Prairie Council has directed the Regional Fire Service to bring in staff “as required” ahead of the 2024 wildfire season with an up to $425,000 funding allocation.

County Reeve Bob Marshall spoke on the matter saying the funding is another step in the right direction as the county continues to prepare for a hefty wildfire season due to dry, windy conditions over the winter and will be used to increase rural volunteer fire station capacity to ensure stations have firefighters nearby to respond as quickly as possible.

Marshall says the funding allocation is necessary as volunteer stations can be slow to respond to emergency scenarios simply because of the logistics related to getting firefighters from their residences to the station.

“Currently when you look at our volunteer stations the call comes in and we have to send out the call and volunteers have to come to the station which can take 15 to 20 minutes before trucks are actually rolling,” he says. “So with this we’ll pay to have people stationed at those stations during the high-risk fire season so that we can respond quicker and minimize the impact of those fires and knock them down before they become a larger hazard.”

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Additionally, Marshall spoke on the previous year which put a significant strain on fire stations around the county. The Reeve says the funding will also be used to ensure equipment is always on standby to ensure wildfires can be dealt with accordingly.

“We’re also going to have a helicopter with bucketing capabilities on standby as well during those high-risk times.”

Both the City and County of Grande Prairie, alongside the Provincial Government have allocated sizeable funding for projects related to wildfire mitigation, FireSmarting, and wildfire response such as the city’s recent $200K FRIAA Grant in preparation for the anticipated 2024 wildfire season

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