The Municipal Wildfire Assistance Program (MWAP) is a province wide program developed by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and the Alberta Emergency Management Agency (AEMA). The program has been designed to provide financial assistance to municipalities who incur extraordinary incremental costs in the suppression of wildfires outside Alberta’s Forest Protection Area.
The term wildfire includes any unwanted or unplanned natural or human-caused wildland fire that burns in forested, grassland or other vegetative areas outside the Forest Protection Area.
For a list of eligible costs and program details, refer to the MWAP guidelines.
The program does not cover costs:
- that could have been reasonably prevented or avoided
- insurance covers
- that could likely be recovered through legal action
- that could be recovered through other government programs
- for fires occurring on unoccupied public land
- for the suppression of structural fires
- for damage to property, like structures or landscaping
To be considered for eligibility, the municipal costs for actioning the wildfire or series of wildfires within the provincial fiscal year (April 1 to March 31) must exceed the $25 per-capita threshold. A municipality will be expected to keep accurate and detailed financial records on the costs associated with wildfires.
The official population figures published by Alberta Municipal Affairs in the preceding fiscal year will be used to determine per capita costs.
Considerations in determining a municipality’s eligibility for an MWAP are:
- The municipality has advised the AEMA of the fire and potential MWAP application as soon as is reasonably possible.
- The municipality is unable to recover all of the costs through another government program or legal action.
- The municipality requested assistance from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (if appropriate) at the earliest practicable time, with the objective of reducing the spread and suppression costs of the fire.
Municipalities must demonstrate that they have implemented wildfire prevention initiatives that show they have:
- Mutual Aid Agreements with neighbouring municipalities, industrial fire departments (where available), and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry; included notification and potential involvement of Agriculture and Forestry in its Municipal Emergency Plan
- implemented a fire permit program according to Agriculture and Forestry’s requirements
- implemented a wildfire awareness program (for example, Fire Smart) which encourages the community and residents to take mitigative steps to protect their homes and property from the threat of wildfire
- ensured that one or more personnel from the municipal fire department has taken wildfire management courses approved by the local Agriculture and Forestry Wildfire Protection Area manager, and
- where possible, the municipality has implemented an infrared scanning program for the detection and subsequent follow-up or actioning of winter holdover burning
Once a municipality has determined that it has incurred costs in excess of $25 per capita, it should contact Alberta Emergency Management Agency. An evaluator will contact the municipality to arrange for a review of appropriate municipal records.
The following are open Municipal Wildfire Assistance Programs:
- 2019 Cypress County
- 2019 Buffalo Lake Metis Settlement
- 2017 Wheatland County
Connect with the Alberta Emergency Management Agency:
Alberta Emergency Management Agency
5th Floor, Terrace Building
9515 107 Street NW
Edmonton, Alberta T5K 2C1