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Disaster Recovery Assistance for Communities in Alberta

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Disaster Recovery Assistance Program

The Municipal Wildfire Assistance Program (MWAP) is there to help municipalities with the cost of responding and recovering from wild fires. Disaster Recovery Solutions is there to help municipalities to obtain that assistance … for free!

When a wildfire occurs outside the FPA (Forest Protection Area), a variety of sources may inform SRD (Sustainable Resource Development) or the AEMA (Alberta Emergency Management Agency) of the circumstances. These include field staff, municipal requests for assistance, internal reporting mechanisms, other government departments and the media. Contact your AEMA Field Representative.

The AEMA will provide affected municipalities with application forms to facilitate the submission of timely and accurate information with respect to damages in their respective areas. For an application to be considered for approval, the municipality must submit its application to the AEMA within 90 days of the beginning of the event.

Information relating to the severity of the event will be reviewed by the Disaster Recovery Committee (administered by the AEMA) to determine if the criteria for approval of an application and subsequent program have been met.

The following situations are not eligible for assistance:

  • Insurance for the damage, loss or costs was reasonably and readily available before the disaster or emergency occurred.
  • There is a substantial likelihood that the damage, loss or costs could be recovered through legal action.
  • Funding of the full amount of the damage, loss or costs is available under other Government of Alberta programs.

The Disaster Recovery Committee, appointed under Section 5(1) of the Emergency Management Act, will provide a recommendation to the Minister of Municipal Affairs concerning approval of a MWAP.

If and when the Minister approves a MWAP application, the Managing Director will administer the program in accordance with the MWAP Guidelines.

Basic Considerations Points to be considered in determining the eligibility of an application are:

  1. The fire was a wildfire, as defined in Section 1.4 of the Municipal Wildfire Assistance Program.
  2. The municipality incurred wildfire suppression costs actioning fire(s) outside the Forest Protection Area. Wildfires on unoccupied public lands are not eligible.
  3. The municipal costs for actioning the wildfire or series of wildfires within the provincial fiscal year (April 1 to March 31) exceed the $25/capita threshold.
  4. The municipality has advised the AEMA of the fire and potential MWAP application as soon as is reasonably possible.
  5. The municipality is unable to recover all of the costs through another government program or legal action.
  6. The municipality has formally requested assistance from SRD (if appropriate) at the earliest practicable time, with the objective of reducing the spread and suppression costs of the fire.
  7. The municipality provides the AEMA with accurate records summarizing the costs they incurred actioning the wildfire(s).
  8. The municipality has mutual aid agreements with neighbouring municipalities, industrial fire departments (where available) and SRD.
  9. The municipality has included notification and potential involvement of SRD in their municipal emergency plan.
  10. The municipality has implemented a fire permit program according to SRD’s Fire Permit Issuance Guidelines document.
  11. The municipality has implemented a wildfire awareness program (e.g. FireSmart), which encourages the community and residents to take mitigative steps to protect their homes and property from the threat of fire.
  12. One or more personnel from the municipal fire department have taken wildfire management courses approved by the manager of the local SRD area.
  13. Where possible, the municipality has implemented an infrared scanning program for the detection and subsequent follow up or actioning of winter holdover burning.