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South African Firefighters to Help Battle Manitoba Wildfires

August 11, 2021 7:10 AM | News

Manitoba Wildfire - Canadian Forces

Canadian Forces personnel spray water in a burned section of forest in Manitoba in an undated handout photo. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Canadian Forces)

WINNIPEG — More than 100 South African firefighters will arrive in Winnipeg today to help the province battle continuing wildfires.

The group will join over 400 Manitoba firefighters, as well as current Canadian Forces personnel, and was arranged by the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre (CIFFC).

The province says the arriving firefighters have been tested for COVID-19 prior to landing and will be tested again upon arriving on their charter flight. Strict COVID-19 protocols, including ongoing rapid testing, will be in place for the duration of their deployment. COVID-19 immunizations will also be available to the firefighters.

Manitoba is currently using its six water bombers for fire suppression, which have been supplemented with two aircraft from Quebec, four from the Northwest Territories plus over two dozen helicopters to assist in firefighting efforts.

There are currently 143 active wildfires burning across the province. To date, Manitoba has had 431 wildfires this year and the average for this time is 370 wildfires.