Wildfires in May and June burned more than 1.4 million hectares and resulted in about 38,000 Albertans being evacuated from their homes. Because of the actions of thousands of firefighters from Alberta as well as from across Canada and the world, no lives were lost and most of the wildfires are now under control.
Alberta’s government has approved a $175-million Disaster Recovery Program to help Alberta communities recoup costs related to the wildfire response and recovery.
“This year’s wildfire season has had an early and profound impact on Alberta communities, and our hearts go out to all those affected. Our government stands ready and willing to help Alberta communities. We are committed to supporting local authorities and will use the Disaster Recovery Program to provide financial assistance for the extraordinary costs to respond to the wildfires.”
Local authorities affected by the wildfires can now apply for costs incurred responding to the wildfires and repairing related damage. Eligible expenses that may be covered could include volunteer firefighter wages, local authority firefighter and municipal staff overtime costs, mutual aid costs for reception centre accommodation, food and transportation, structural protection costs and infrastructure damaged during the wildfire response.
“We are grateful for the resiliency shown by families, individuals, the firefighters and all Albertans throughout the ongoing wildfires. This new funding will be critical in helping these impacted communities get back to where they were before this province-wide disaster."
“The Disaster Recovery Program will play a crucial role helping impacted municipalities and Metis Settlements recover. We will continue collaborating with local leaders, listening to their needs and working together to support a swift and effective recovery.”
“Recent wildfires have had a severe impact on residents across Brazeau County. This support from Alberta’s government will go a long way towards helping our communities rebuild and recover.”
“I’m extremely grateful to the province for this support. This program will help us rebuild and recover from one of the most devastating events our community has had to face and ensure that we can move forward stronger than ever. I look forward to continuing to work together to best support Drayton Valley.”
Historically, Alberta has used the Disaster Recovery Program to help communities recover from extraordinary natural disasters, including the 2020 northern Alberta floods, the 2016 Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo wildfires, the 2013 southern Alberta floods, the 2011 Slave Lake wildfires and other smaller disasters.
The Disaster Recovery Program provides financial assistance for uninsurable loss and damage caused by emergencies and disasters, but it is not intended to replace appropriate fire insurance coverage. As fire insurance is considered readily and reasonably available in Alberta, Disaster Recovery Program financial assistance for the 2023 wildfires is not available to homeowners, residential tenants, small business owners, landlords, agricultural operations, condominium associations and not-for-profit organizations. First Nations communities are supported directly by Indigenous Services Canada, which provides disaster financial assistance for emergency response and recovery activities.