A contingent of 55 specialist firefighting personnel from Australia headed to Canada yesterday to support Canadian firefighters battling large fires spreading across the country.
Minister for Emergency Management Senator the Hon Bridget McKenzie, said the highly trained team from New South Wales and Western Australia had experience in dealing with the type of fires that are currently threatening Canada.
“We have not forgotten the generosity of Canada in sending their firefighters to help us when faced with the horror of the Black Summer bushfires, and now through the states we are able to return the favour,” Senator McKenzie said.
“Our Australian firefighters have travelled to Canada to support the Canadian crews battling the country’s worst wildfires in recent years for 32 days.
“In British Columbia alone, they’re managing over 300 active fires and it is feared that these flair ups will continue, so it’s crucial that we can get our men and women over there to help.
“Our deployment will provide a wide range of expertise, including bushfire commanders, incident management teams, bushfire behaviour, and aviation specialists.
“I would particularly like to thank New South Wales and Western Australia, who have stepped up to the challenge to support Canada’s front line.
“The Australian Government has been working closely with the National Resource Sharing Centre (NRSC) and states to support logistics within the COVID-19 environment and with support from New South Wales, the firefighters will return to Sydney for their 14 day Hotel Quarantine.
“The request to have Australian specialist firefighters help out is a testament to their professionalism, training and expertise, and we wish them all the best and a safe deployment,” Senator McKenzie said.