Alberta New Democrats say they would restore aerial wildfire-fighting teams

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CALGARY — Alberta's New Democrats say they'd bring back a program of elite aerial wildfire fighters cancelled by the United Conservative government.

Leader Rachel Notley says the party is committed to restoring the Rapattack program, axed in 2020 to save $1.4 million.

The program once had 63 firefighters across the province trained to rappel from helicopters to fight fires when they are still small.

The Alberta Party and the Green Party announced last week they'd also restore the program.

United Conservative Leader Danielle Smith has said she'd take another look at what the province needs in terms of firefighting.

Jordan Erlendson, a former member of the Rapattack team, calls Notley's announcement a no-brainer.

Alberta had 25 out-of-control wildfires as of Monday afternoon and thousands have been forced from their homes.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 15, 2023.

The Canadian Press