Wildfirefighters return from Northern Ontario to help Ottawa clear up the storm

More than 50 forest firefighters have been transferred to Ottawa as the Canadian capital continues to falter after a deadly storm that swept through Southern Ontario on May 21.

The storm killed 11 people in Ontario and Quebec and left hundreds of thousands without power. At the beginning of June, Hydro Ottawa was still working to provide all customers with power again.

A spokesman for the Ontario Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry confirmed to Global News that firefighter crews, generally deployed to fight wildfires in the north, had been dispatched to assist in Ottawa.

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On May 27, the province sent a total of 10 crews — five from the northwest and five from the northeast — to Ottawa. They also sent two task force leaders and five overhead staff for a total of 52 staff.

Firefighters were sent from Sudbury, Sioux Lookout and Cochrane, among others.

The deployment took place at the request of the city of Ottawa, the county said.

Crews are being used to clear debris and trees from roads, parks, trails, playgrounds and sidewalks “led by City of Ottawa personnel and in support of Hydro’s efforts to repair transmission lines,” the spokesperson said.

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The first crew was replaced on June 4, and the firefighters returned to their bases when new personnel signed up. The new contingent is expected to stay in Ottawa for seven to 10 days, depending on how much work is left.

“Other refreshed crews and personnel may be deployed to take over the personnel currently in Ottawa in support of the storm response and provide calm,” the county said.

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