Canada sends two more groups to Australia to help fight wildfires

Flames have killed 10 people and destroyed 1,000 homes in recent months

Canadian wildfire specialists are shown in this handout image in Vancouver before being deployed to New South Wales, Australia on Thursday Dec. 19, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre-Riel McGuire

Firefighters from across Canada are on their way to Australia to bolster those already assisting the country in the battle against devastating wildfires.

Stephen Tulle, duty officer with the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre, says a group of 15 set out for Queensland Monday, while another group of 21 will fly out later in the week.

He says the contingent of Canadian wildfire specialists stationed in Queensland and New South Wales will reach 87 by Jan. 4.

This is the first time that Canada has sent firefighters to Australia, although Tulle says crews from Down Under have visited here and were vital in helping B.C. handle widespread wildfires in 2017 and 2018.

The Canadian contingent is made up of male and female volunteers from B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador, Yukon and Parks Canada.

The Australian wildfires have killed 10 people and destroyed 1,000 homes across the country in the past few months.

Tulle says the Canadians will primarily perform fire-manager duties, related to command, planning, logistics and aviation management.

Many are already familiar with their Australian counterparts, he added.

READ MORE: Sixty-nine Canadians give up holidays to help with Australian wildfires

“They’re down there and they say, ‘Hey, we worked together in British Columbia in 2018.’ And so, they do know each other. They do have those contacts and those relationships.”

Canadian firefighters will spend about six weeks in Australia before returning home and Tulle said Canada will continue to send crews as long as volunteers can be found, and Australia is requesting help.

“Our people, kudos to them, have been standing up saying, ‘Yeah, you know what, they’ve been here for us and we’d like to be here for them.’”

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ktunaxa, supporters celebrate protection of Qat’muk and the Jumbo valley

Speeches, acknowledgements and ceremonies mark an emotional gathering in Cranbrook

Hwy 3 to close for avalanche control on Jan. 19

The road is expected to be closed from noon to 3 p.m.

Jumbo Valley to be protected, ending decades-long dispute over proposed ski resort

Development rights permanently retired for site of proposed year-round ski resort west of Invermere

Electricity, natural gas use spiked during cold snap: FortisBC

FortisBC said that natural gas use was 50 per cent higher on Jan. 14, compared to week prior

Celebrate ski season with the Trails Society on Jan. 19

Hot chocolate, roasted marshmallows and a groomed trail await

After cashing in on QB gambles, Chiefs and 49ers to clash in Super Bowl

KC beats Tennessee, San Francisco dispatches Green Bay to reach NFL title game

B.C. VIEWS: Few clouds on Horgan’s horizon

Horgan’s biggest challenge in the remainder of his term will be to keep the economy humming along

Victoria family focuses on ‘letting go, enjoying time together’ after dad gets dementia

Walter Strauss has developed an interest in music and now takes line dancing classes

B.C. forest industry grasps for hope amid seven-month strike, shutdowns, changes

Some experts say this could be worse for forestry than the 2008 financial crisis

Northern B.C. RCMP investigating alleged sexual assault in downtown Smithers

One person was transported by ambulance to hospital following RCMP investigation at Sedaz

UBC, Iranian-Canadian community create memorial scholarship in honour of victims

The Jan. 8 crash killed 176 people, including 57 Canadians

Disrespectful that Horgan won’t meet during northern B.C. tour: hereditary chief

Na’moks said he was frustrated Horgan didn’t meet with the chiefs

Most Read