The board of the CAFC 2022-2023.
23 Aug 2023

President of the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs says more wildfire resources needed help volunteer fire brigades


This summer, the federal Canadian government has started to fund Canada-wide training focused on fighting wildfires. But Ken McMullen, president of the CAFC, feels more could - and should be done - in light of the recent catastrophic wildfire season in Canada. 

Distributed through a pilot program run by the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF), new funding for full-time municipal firefighters and volunteer rural firefighters has been put in place by the Canadian Federal Government. 

However, the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs says more still could be done to train and fund specialty equipment for firefighters who aren't part of provincial wildfire services, particularly volunteer crews that have few resources, according to the CBC

Ken McCullen, president of the CAFC.ca 2023.
Ken McCullen, president of the CAFC.ca 2023. 

Ken McMullen, president of the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs *, says a significant percentage of the country is covered by volunteer firefighting forces.


* The Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs is the organization through which Canada is a member of CTIF since 2021. 


"Geographically, over 80 percent of Canada is protected by a volunteer or composite fire department," he told CBC News.

Most Canadians live in denser urban centers with a municipal fire department of largely career firefighters. However, a greater geographical region of the country, including rural and unincorporated communities, rely on volunteer forces.

McMullen says those forces, which largely get their money through donations and provincial emergency funding, have very limited budgets compared to urban fire services. 


Where forests meet human habitat: New focus on the Wildland-Urban Interface 

This summer, we have seen many examples of wildfires threatening, or even destroying,  the wildland-urban interface: This is how locations where a fire could potentially affect man-made structures are defined. Focus is often on natural fuels such as trees and shrubs.

"Over 10 per cent of Canadians live in interface areas where urban communities intermingle with flammable environments like forests," said Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson at a news conference on Aug. 11. 

"In our fight against wildfires, the interface must be an urgent area of focus."


Photo Credit: CAFC.ca