More than a dozen Minnesota firefighters respond to call for help in fighting Canadian wildfires

(ABC 6 News) – A crew of 17 wildland Minnesota firefighters have been sent to assist Canadian wildfires in Manitoba, according to a press release from Gov. Tim Walz on Monday.

The hand crew was deployed after a mutual aid request was submitted 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 Gov. Walz. “We have a strong partnership and will continue to do everything we can to share resources and contain the Canadian wildfires.”

The Minnesota crew departed from the state’s Interagency Fire Center in Grand Rapids. Once the crew arrives in Manitoba, they will likely help establish fire fuel breaks in the remote backcountry.

“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.”

Through the Great lakes Forest Fire Compact, states and provinces — Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, Manitoba and Ontario — can share firefighting resources upon request throughout the region of the Great Lakes. According to the press release from Gov. Walz, the partnership allows for the cooperation and collaboration between firefighting agencies as well as learning and training experiences.

Throughout 2021, the Minnesota DNR contacted the compact for support and received access to engines, aircraft and firefighters, according to the release.