Saturday, April 20, 2024

More firefighters deployed to Alberta

A second deployment of 49 firefighting specialists from NSW will join an Australian and New Zealand contingent of 158 in Alberta this week to provide welcome relief to their Canadian colleagues on the fire front.

With 220 personnel already on the ground in Alberta, the latest arrivals will bring the total number of Australians and New Zealanders deployed to 378.

“I thank these men and women who are leaving their loved ones and daily lives behind to support their international colleagues battle a huge number of fires in Canada. Just as Canadian firefighters stood beside us during the 2019-20 Black Summer, we will stand beside them in their times of need,” said Minister for Emergency Services, Jihad Dib.

“Our highly respected emergency service specialists are at the top of their game, always ready to use their skills to not only protect the people of NSW but communities around the world. I wish them well and look forward to their safe return.”

Other roles being carried out by the deployment include incident management and specialist aviation duties to help bring more than 200 active fires under control.

The second deployment (pictured, below) flew out this morning, a timely departure given today is Thank A First Responder Day.

“Today we wish a further 10 National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) specialist firefighters safe travels as they head off to join the international effort to bring the Canadian wildfires under control,” said NSW Minister for the Environment, Penny Sharpe.

“The crew departing today join their 12 NPWS colleagues already on the ground in the Alberta province.

“NPWS has a team of specially trained remote area firefighters and incident managers and we wish everyone a safe and speedy return home.”

More than 2,100 fires have burnt through more than 3.3 million hectares to date, with Canadian fire agencies remaining at their highest alert level.

“Canada continues to see a steady increase of fire activity and the RFS is fortunate to be in a position to assist in coordinating the NSW contribution to the international response,” said RFS Commissioner, Rob Rogers.

“I thank those who are departing this week, along with those involved in the logistical task of organising this deployment, potentially of up to 42 days.

“Continued international requests for Australian assistance is testament to the professionalism, skill and experience of our fire specialists.”

The deployment of the Australian team is coordinated through the National Resource Sharing Centre and includes 28 firefighters from the RFS, 10 from the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, six from Forestry Corporation NSW, four from Fire and Rescue NSW and one member from the NSW SES.

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