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

VIDEO: Sirens show support for Langley Memorial Hospital staff

Friday drive-past the latest in a province-wide campaign to boost morale at B.C. medical facilities

Smiling 98-year-old inspires new ways to connect at Langley hospital

Foundation staff liaise between patients and loved-ones who can’t visit due to restrictions

VIDEO: Langley schools transition students to at-home learning

During the next two weeks a new model will be rolled out to parents, pupils of kids in public school

VIDEO: Virus Busters assemble to take on COVID-19 germs in Langley

A team of 20 business owners and employees are working to kill viral bacteria in public places

Two Fraser Valley care home workers confirmed to have COVID-19

Health authority has a team at a Langley and a Surrey seniors facilities informing staff, residents

B.C. COVID-19 cases rise 92 to 884, one more death, 81 in care

Outbreak action underway in 12 long-term care homes

B.C. veterinarians want to smooth the fur of COVID-19-worried pet owners

Vets expect to continue giving your fur buddies the help they need while social distancing

B.C. VIEWS: Small businesses need our help

Just as integral in neighbourhoods in Vancouver and Surrey as they are in Prince George or Kelowna

‘Tremendous’ response from blood donors has supply keeping pace with demand

About 400,000 of Canada’s 37 million residents give blood on a regular basis

Morning world update: Cases surge past 600,000; positive news in Germany

Spain suffers its deadliest day as Germany considers April 20 to possibly loosen restrictions

VIDEO: Penguins roam empty halls of Vancouver Aquarium

COVID-19 has forced the Vancouver Aquarium to close access to guests – leaving room for its residents

Significant snowfall forecast for Interior mountain passes

Allison Pass, the Okanagan Connector, Rogers Pass and Kootenay Pass could see 15 to 25 cm of snow

Most Read