Indigenous Fire Safety Conference sparks calls for national strategy

By Patrick Quinn  Local Journalism Initiative Reporter As still smouldering fires are left for the changing seasons to extinguish, Indigenous firefighters and emergency coordinators across Canada are looking back at this summer’s disastrous wildfires to improve future responses. These discussions were a focus at this year’s Indigenous Public Safety Conference, held September 14-15 in Montreal. It was organized by the National Indigenous Fire Safety Council, which was created last year to support the development of safety measures  and resiliency in Indigenous communities. At the conference, Cree Nation regional fire marshal Lee-Roy Blacksmith spoke with Quebec’s Indigenous Affairs Minister Ian Lafreniere about how fires impacted Eeyou Istchee. Blacksmith suggested that the initial response was hindered by poor communication, which improved after a core working group was established. “Day one of the…

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