NSW boosts Canadian wildfire assistance with a second deployment
A second deployment of 49 firefighting specialists from NSW will join an additional Australian and New Zealand contingent of 158 in Canada this week with most of this delegation being arduous firefighters, who will provide welcome relief to their Canadian colleagues on the fire front.
With 220 personnel already on the ground in Alberta, this will bring the total number of Australians and New Zealanders deployed to 378.
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 flies out this morning, a timely departure given today is Thank A First Responder Day which aims to highlight the selfless job done by all those who go to work every day to protect us and keep us safe.
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.
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.
Minister for Emergency Services, Jihad Dib said:
“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.”
“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.”
Minister for the Environment, Penny Sharpe said:
“Today we wish a further ten 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.”
“The crew departing today join their twelve 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.”
Minister for Agriculture, Regional and Western NSW, Tara Moriarty, said:
“It is reassuring to know the NSW Forestry Corporation possesses firefighters with expertise in combating native forest fires and can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our other firefighting authorities as they use their collective skills and knowledge to reach out and help our Commonwealth partners.
“I wish them all a successful overseas mission and look forward to their safe return.”
Commissioner of the RFS, Rob Rogers said:
“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.
“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.”