26 September 2023

NSW firies battle Canadian blazes

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Fifty-seven specialists from NSW firefighting and emergency service agencies have arrived in Canada to do battle with over 190 wildfires burning through the provinces of Alberta and British Columbia.

Commending the public servants, Minister for Emergency Services, Jihad Dib said the NSW contingent joined a 200-strong Australasian deployment assisting local firefighters.

“Tens of thousands of people have had to flee their homes in Canada from the terrifying wildfires, a scenario we in NSW are all too familiar with, and while our thoughts and prayers are with those facing hardship and loss, we are backing that up with action by sending this much needed help,” Mr Dib said.

“I have no doubt our emergency service specialists will provide well deserved relief for their international colleagues and to those who have made the trip, I thank them for their selflessness, bravery and resolve,” he said.

“I also wish to thank their families and employers for their support of this important mission.”

Mr Dib said the core of the NSW contingent was made up of 30 members from the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS), nine from Fire and Rescue NSW and three NSW State Emergency Service crews.

He said the group was expected to be deployed for up to 42 days and included arduous firefighters, incident management personnel as well as other specialist roles such as supervision and aviation management.

NSW RFS Commissioner, Rob Rogers said the deployment continued a long standing tradition of helping fellow firefighters, with NSW Agencies providing international firefighting assistance for more than two decades, including multiple deployments to Canada.

“Our specialists are highly trained and will be working in both arduous firefighter roles on the ground as well as incident management positions, including an incident controller who will be responsible for overseeing an entire team of operators,” Commissioner Rogers said.

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