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

West Kelowna Fire and Rescue gear up for annual ‘Fire in the Mountains’ initiative

WKPF is offering one individual the opportunity to spend up to 3 days with their firefighter hero’s hiking or paddling in one of BC’s pristine wilderness environments

Kelowna’s Sutherland Salvation Army thrift store closes permanently

The location has been facing challenges amid COVID-19

QUIZ: Do you know the truth?

In what has been described as a post-truth era, how much do you know about truth and lies?

Drowning incidents increase in Okanagan as summer picks up

There are now 23 drownings in the province to date, with four from the Okanagan

53 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths cap off week of high infection rates in B.C.

Roughly 1,500 people are self-isolating because they either have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it

NHL playoffs: Canucks to meet St. Louis Blues in Round 1

Vancouver takes on defending champs beginning Wednesday

Local state of emergency declared near Okanagan home

Slope failure cited as City of Penticton issues notice at home in 600 block of Heather Road

Simon Cowell breaks his back falling from electric bike

Incident happened at his home in California

Therapeutic art for sale at Okanagan show

17th annual Awakening the Spirit Art Show and Sale presented by Vernon Canadian Mental Health Assoc.

VIDEO: Internet famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer explores Vancouver Island

Gurdeep Pandher spreads joy through dance, forms cross-cultural connections amid pandemic

Tech mogul growing North Okanagan’s wine industry

The founder of online dating site Plenty of Fish is developing 900 acres in Vernon

Fentanyl-laced powder being sold as cocaine in Kamloops

Interior Health has released a warning about very strong fentanyl in Kamloops

Unofficial holidays: the weird and wonderful things people celebrate around the world

On any given day of the year, there are several strange, silly or serious holidays to observe

Most Read