May 29 2023
Every year, wildfires affect our communities. There are 206 active forest fires in almost every province across our country. As of today, there have been 1,696 fires, burning 2.4 million hectares of land. Most recently, 14,000 Haligonians have been forced to evacuate after a growing wildfire in the Upper Tantallon region prompted the Halifax Regional municipality to declare a state of local emergency.
We see more fires, in more communities, each year. While we have much work to do to mitigate climate change and improve the resiliency of our communities for the long term, these fires are threatening lives, property, infrastructure, and our natural resources right now.
These forests are the workplaces of thousands of members of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE). Every day, our members do their utmost to stop fires before they start. But when fires ignite, these first responders run towards them to protect homes, businesses, and our wilderness.
Firefighters are responsible for making quick decisions that have significant consequences not only for public safety but also for the property and livelihoods of others.
Our members sacrifice so much. They are at risk for long-term health problems, and utimately at risk of losing their lives from being exposed to deadly carcinogens and trauma to ensure the safety and security of our families and communities.
We want to make sure they know how much we value their work.
We thank them for the courage they show. And when they need us, we will have their backs.