Alberta spending $31 million this year to protect communities from wildfires

Alberta plans to spend $31 million this year to prevent the type of wildfires that ravaged much of the town of Slave Lake in May 2011. The government says there will be cash to improve emergency response planning, hire more firefighters and for public education.

EDMONTON — Alberta plans to spend $31 million this year to prevent the type of wildfires that ravaged much of the town of Slave Lake in May 2011.

The government says there will be cash to improve emergency response planning, hire more firefighters and for public education.

This is on top of funding announced last year that will go to 19 communities to develop FireSmart plans, including clearing trees and brush from around populated areas.

The cost of the Slave Lake wildfires, including damage, firefighting and recovery programs, has been estimated at around $1 billion.

The town did not have a detailed FireSmart plan before the wildfire.

Environment Minister Robin Campbell says the funding shows the government is putting the lessons it has learned from the Slave Lake fires into practice.

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