Canada orders railway safety measures to reduce wildfire risk
Earlier this month, a fire destroyed the town of Leiden in British Columbia and killed two people. Canada on Sunday ordered restrictions on rail transportation between British Columbia and areas with a high risk of wildfires across the country.
Transport Canada said in a statement that the order will require Canadian National Railways and Canadian Pacific Railways to take a series of precautions to prevent wildfires, including reducing train speeds.
Transport Minister Omar Alghabra ordered a 48-hour suspension of rail transportation in parts of British Columbia on Friday. The ban expired at midnight on Saturday. The new restrictions take effect on Sunday morning and will last until October 31.
The department stated that the order “will take temporary measures, and the department will work with the railway company to permanently include these measures to reduce the risk of fire.”
The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) said on Friday that it is deploying an investigation team to see whether freight trains are likely to cause two fires, including one that ravaged Litton.
The Litton fire broke out after the town broke the Canadian high temperature record for more than 80 years with a temperature of 49.6 degrees Celsius. According to official data, British Columbia now has 297 wildfires burning, an increase of 97 in two days.
The order also clarifies localized operational security measures Between Kamloops and Boston Bar or Kamloops and North Bend On the Thompson and Ashcroft branch track.
In areas facing extreme fire risks in the province, CN and CP must ensure at least 10 fire detection patrols, remove flammable materials from the tracks, and require conductors to report fires they find and other measures.
Across the country, when there is an extreme risk of fire and high outdoor temperatures, trains will have to slow down. CN and CP also need to develop plans to mitigate fire risks and negotiate with indigenous communities on fire hazards.
According to the ministerial order, once the temperature reaches 30 degrees Celsius and above, the two companies must ensure that the speed is reduced along the country’s largest first-class railway.
Last week, wildfires in British Columbia destroyed railway lines and left thousands of railway vehicles idle. This has resulted in a backlog of cargo entering and leaving the Port of Vancouver, which is slowly beginning to clear.