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July 12, 2021

Canada issues railway safety measures to minimise wildfire risk

Canadian National Railway and Canadian Pacific Railway will be required to boost their prevention efforts against wildfires.

The Government of Canada has issued certain restrictions on rail transport for areas facing high wildfire risks.

The move comes after a blaze destroyed the town of Lytton in British Columbia amid record-high temperatures.

As per the order, Canada’s two key railroad operators, Canadian National Railway (CN) and Canadian Pacific Railway (CP), will be required to boost their prevention efforts against wildfires.

The new rail transport restrictions became effective on 11 July and will continue until 31 October.

Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra said: “Unprecedented weather conditions in British Columbia continue to pose a serious threat to public safety and railway operations.

“The Government of Canada remains committed to supporting those affected by the devastating wildfires in British Columbia and will not hesitate to take any safety actions that are necessary to mitigate these risks to public safety and the integrity of railway tracks and infrastructure.”

In parts of the West Coast province that are prone to high fire risk, CN and CP are required to conduct at least ten fire detection patrols every 24 hours and ensure that all combustible materials are removed from the tracks.

They are also required to ask conductors on trains to spot and report fires.

In case of extreme fire risk and outdoor temperature, the trains have been ordered to operate at reduced speeds nationally.

Furthermore, the railroad operators need to deploy fire suppression capacity into their operations to expedite response time to any such incidents.

Several places in Canada have also recorded record temperatures in the last few days following an earlier heat wave that struck at the end of last month.

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