Volunteer Firefighter International

Canada Sends Wildland Experts to Aid Australia Fire Fight

By David Common and Sylvia Thomson, CBC News:

Exhausted after a nearly 16-hour flight from the opposite side of the world, Canadian wildfire specialists were cheered by Australians on arrival this week at Sydney’s airport.

They’re the latest to join the growing Canadian presence supporting the battle against Australia’s destructive wildfires, in a season of record-shattering temperatures.

“It’s something we really have to wrap our heads around,” says Alberta’s Morgan Kehr, senior representative of the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre. “We have seen extreme fire behaviour in Canada. But not over the geographic area we are dealing with here. Or with the frequency.”

The added Canadians arrived as the Australian state of New South Wales recorded a stunning milestone: the amount of area burned is now 20 times larger than an average year, consuming homes, farms and neighbourhoods.

They are not front-line firefighters, but specialists in aviation, logistics and fire behaviour prediction, to understand how the fires will grow, where they’ll move and how they might be contained.

The number of Canadian wildfire specialists in Queensland and New South Wales is fluctuating, but is believed to now be at 95.

Read the full story here.

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