Firefighters in Australia who are battling bushfires for over a month now are getting a helping hand from Canada. A group of firemen from various fire departments in Canada have offered to help fight the fires despite it meaning that they will miss Christmas with their families. The gesture has been appreciated by Australian fire departments and local residents.
A select group of 21 firefighters from Canada flew down to Sydney from Vancouver and arrived on Wednesday. They are expected to stay in Australia for 38 days.
Watch the video of the firefighters arriving in Australia:
“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 Brian Pallister, the Premier of the Canadian province of Manitoba.
A heatwave and rising temperature in the southern hemisphere have aided the spread of the bushfires, which have devastated natural resources and also created a major health issue for local residents.
Manitoba and Australia have a strong history of fire assistance, exchanging professional teams to aid each other over the years.
Canada has called on Australian firefighters four times since 2015, and we are proud to now provide support to them during this devastating fire season.
The team will be deployed for 38 days to the state of New South Wales.#bushfiresNSW
— Alberta Wildfire (@AlbertaWildfire) December 3, 2019
“Canada has called on Australian firefighters four times since 2015, and we are proud to now provide support to them during this devastating fire season,” Canada’s Alberta Wildfire wrote in a tweet.
CIFFC and all 13 of its member agencies are prepared to respond with further assistance if requested. Our thoughts remain focused on our colleagues and the citizens of Australia as they continue to manage through this difficult time. #bushfiresNSW
— CIFFC (@CIFFC) December 1, 2019
Australian officials submitted an official request to the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre, based in Winnipeg, and the call for help was met with a response.
“Their willingness to be deployed out of the country during the holiday season is a testament to their dedication and professionalism,” said Doug Donaldson, British Columbia’s minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, in a statement.
The gesture by the Canadian firefighters has been winning hearts and many Australians thanked them for sacrificing their Christmas to help.