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Two Manitoba Firefighters Headed to Australia to Help Battle Wildfires

December 3, 2019 5:59 AM | News

Australia Wildfire

Volunteers and fire and rescue officers protect the Colo Heights Public School from being impacted by the Gospers Mountain fire near Colo Heights southwest of Sydney, Australia on November 19, 2019. (DEAN LEWIS, EPA-EFE)

Two firefighters from Manitoba’s provincial wildfire program are off to Australia to assist crews battling unprecedented wildfires.

The two Manitobans are part of a Canadian contingent travelling to the country after a request was made on November 29 for human resources.

The Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre (CIFFC), based in Winnipeg, received the official request. Dozens of volunteers came forward over the weekend from Wildland Fire Agencies across Canada and 21 highly qualified personnel were carefully selected for their unique skill sets.

“We are pleased to help the people of Australia as they face these devastating fires, especially since Manitoba has been on the receiving end of help from friends and neighbours when wildfires and other natural disasters hit our province,” said Premier Brian Pallister.

The Manitoba crew will join members from British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Parks Canada. They will work in a variety of roles, including in planning, aviation and operations.

“There’s nothing more Manitoban than offering a helping hand when someone else is in need.”

The Canadian team departs from Vancouver today and will land in Sydney, Australia. From there, they will be assigned to fire operations in New South Wales and spend more than a month in the region to provide assistance to Australian crews.

The team is expected to return to Canada in mid-January.

Tags: Canada | Fire | Manitoba