Early, intense wildfire season makes Canada-U.S. resource-sharing impossible

Too busy to lend hand

The federal government says neither Canada nor the United States can lend each other any extra firefighters as they deal with one of the most severe wildfire seasons in recent memory.

Last year, Canada sent 529 front-line crew members, 62 supervisory teams and a number of aircraft to help the U.S. battle rampant wildfires in California and the Pacific Northwest.

This year, however, Ottawa says there's not enough personnel to go around — and that the problem is only going to get worse.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Joe Biden discussed the wildfire situation Monday when the two leaders spoke by phone.

A Natural Resources Canada background memo says it's time for a new collaborative strategy, given the strain on resources caused by longer, more intense fire seasons.

In addition to their shared focus on mitigating climate change, the memo says Canada and the U.S. are discussing a "co-ordinated investment program" to increase the pool of trained firefighters.

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