A new forest firefighting base has opened at Jack Garland Airport in North Bay.
The new, $9.5-million facility consolidates fire crews and support staff from four locations into one building on the airport grounds, allowing for faster deployment of fire crews to the surrounding communities and forests.
It will also be the new home for seven fire ranger crews and practical space for two water bombers, two bird dog planes and two helicopters.
The opening of the new fire management headquarters will create and maintain a total of 39 jobs in the North Bay area.
Many of the North Bay-based forest fire management jobs have now moved up to the new location from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry building on Trout Lake, which will eventually be closed.
The city has been lobbying for possession of the old property to expand a public beach in the area.
However, MNRF Minister Kathryn McGarry said it’s too early to know the future of the building, which still houses a number of MNRF offices.
But she emphasized the new MNRF office and jobs will remain in North Bay.