Canada does not need any international help to fight the Fort McMurray wildfire at this point, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Monday.
Offers of assistance from abroad were "touching," Mr. Trudeau said, as the fire entered its second week.
"The good news is from the support that we've seen from Canadians across the country, different provinces sending over water bombers, engaged in all sorts of different ways, firefighters coming from all across the country to help, is that there is no need to accept any international assistance at this point. But we certainly thank everyone for their generosity," Mr. Trudeau said at a news conference in Ottawa.
The United States, Russia, Mexico, Australia, Taiwan, Israel and the Palestinian Authority all offered help, according to John Babcock, a Global Affairs Canada spokesperson. Mr. Babcock said offers are considered against the technical needs on the ground and by the experts fighting the fire, and that the need for international assistance is not anticipated.
In a press release last week, Russia's Emergency Situations Minister Vladimir Puchkov offered to send Ilyushin Il-76 water bombers immediately, and Russian rescuers and specialists with the necessary equipment to help fight the Fort McMurray fire. Kirill Kalinin, press secretary for the Russian embassy in Ottawa, said on Monday morning that Russia had not yet heard back from the Canadian government about its offer. Mr. Kalinin said the offer stands and that the Russians are eager to help.
"We know what wildfires are all about. … We have the same things in Russia," Mr. Kalinin said. "We're just extending a helping hand because we understand these kinds of troubles and problems in terms of natural disaster."
A decision to accept international assistance for the wildfire would be based on an assessment by the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre (CIFFC), a non-profit corporation owned and operated by federal, provincial and territorial wildfire management agencies, according to a government official speaking on background. To date, the CIFFC has determined that domestic fire management capabilities are sufficient, the official said.
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said on Sunday that the fire was smaller than originally anticipated it would be at that point, at about 161,000 hectares, because of firefighting efforts and cooler weather. Ms. Notley will visit Fort McMurray on Monday afternoon to analyze the damage.
Mr. Trudeau said he is in touch with Ms. Notley to co-ordinate an appropriate time for him to visit, adding that a date will be announced in the coming days.