One London city councillor is hoping the Forest City can lend a hand to Fort McMurray.
Councillor Virginia Ridley has reached out to Mayor Matt Brown and City Manager Art Zuidema to look into ways London can help to wildfire-ravaged community, including sending local firefighters to Alberta.
Speaking on the Craig Needles Show this morning, Ridley said she learned of the situation too late to bring it up at Tuesday night’s meeting.
“I wish I had seen that during council, I certainly would have moved an emergent motion to ask that London lend its support. Unfortunately I was involved in council debate and wasn’t aware that that was going on until I got home. I think around 12:30 at night I emailed the mayor and the city manager and I said ‘listen, we need to do something. We need to offer our support somehow, some way.'”
London Mayor Matt Brown was unavailable for an interview, but offered his support in a statement.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Fort McMurray during this time,” he said. “We are monitoring the situation and have proactively connected with our provincial counterparts to offer our assistance.”
Ridley says some local firefighters are part of a group called ‘Global Fire’ which does international work and can be deployed with that group.
“The bare minimum that we can do is say to the [London Professional Fire Fighters] Association ‘we will release six people from their duties if they want to assist and volunteer through Global Fire and we can backfill their shifts’. London needs to be supporting, I know if we had a situation where we needed support the support would be coming in.”
Meantime, the province has already committed to sending 100 firefighters to Fort McMurray as well as 19 logistical support staff.
The Ministry of Natural Resources says the crews will be deployed on Friday.