Australian firefighters answer the call to aid B.C.'s wildfire response | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Australian firefighters answer the call to aid B.C.'s wildfire response

July 26, 2021 - 5:00 PM

Australian firefighters are coming to B.C. to assist in the growing response to the province's wildfires.

Canada's ally down under is no stranger to aggressive wildfire seasons, with Australia's early-2020 wildfire season still a recent memory.

On July 27, 34 Australian firefighters will land in Vancouver to be briefed on the current wildfire situation across the province before being deployed, according to a news release from B.C.'s Ministry of Forests.

They will be joining over 3,500 other people currently fighting wildfires across B.C., including 101 Mexican firefighters, 134 from Quebec and, soon, 250 personnel from the Canadian Armed Forces.

“Australia and Canada have a long history of helping each other out when wildfire activity is high,” B.C. Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, Katrine Conroy, said in the release.

“During this extremely challenging fire season, we greatly appreciate the support we’re receiving from Canadian provinces, the federal government and our partners abroad.”

While Australia was battling wildfires across the country in January 2020, at least 69 Canadian firefighters were deployed to assist, including three from Vernon.

“It’s encouraging to see the support we’re receiving from Australia as we continue to strengthen our firefighting response,” Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, said. “That country has also experienced extremely difficult fire seasons recently, so they understand our situation and I’m pleased they are providing assistance.”

The Australian firefighters will be adhering to strict COVID-19 protocols, living and working in their own operational "bubbles," according to the release.

They will remain in their separate bubbles even when away from the wildfires to reduce any COVID-19 risks.

The provincial government is covering the costs for all firefighters and staff brought in from other provinces and countries.

There are currently 254 wildfires burning across the province, with 89 of those within the Kamloops Fire Centre, according to B.C. Wildfire Service on July 26.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Levi Landry or call 250-819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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News from © iNFOnews, 2021

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