26 September 2023

QPWS Rangers join Canada for fires fighting

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For the first time in the history of the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS), a group of Rangers are joining the continuing battle against unprecedented wildfires in Alberta, Canada.

The Rangers will be working beside some of the best fire responders from across Australia as part of the international battle to preserve communities and the wilderness in the wake of fires raging through the extensive forests of Central-West Alberta.

Due to the nature of forest fires, QPWS personnel and other national park and fire Agency staff from across Australia have been called upon to support the Canadian authorities because of their skills and experience in fighting landscape fires.

The Rangers’ bushfire-management skills will complement the teams of Queensland Fire and Emergency Services personnel, now on their third deployment to Canada since May.

After arriving in Edmonton, Alberta, the Rangers are to travel to communities at-risk of the fires and spend the next month sleeping in tents between 12-hour shifts on the front-line.

Minister for the Environment and the Great Barrier Reef, Leanne Linard said the Rangers had all gone through rigorous fitness and practical testing to ensure they were well equipped to face the task they were being asked to perform.

“While there are similarities between the way wildfires are fought in Queensland and Canada, the QPWS personnel will be embedded with Local Authorities and other fire fighters on the front-line to learn how Canadians respond to their forest fires,” Ms Linard said.

Member of the team, Ranger in Charge, Paul Bufi said it wasn’t long ago that they were facing their own bushfire disaster across Queensland “so I know how overwhelming it can be”.

“I am nervous about going when it’s something we haven’t done before, but in a situation like this when it’s all hands-on-deck you’ve just got to put those feelings aside and get the job done,” Mr Bufi said.

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