South Australian firefighting expertise required in Canada

SA Country Fire Service (CFS) and Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources (DEWNR) will today send six fire response professionals to Canada to assist in the emergency response to thousands of wildfires in North America.

About 2,500 fires are currently burning across Canada and have exhausted local authorities already braced for an extensive fire season throughout the widespread pine forest regions.

CFS State Coordinator Leigh Miller says the deployment is an acknowledgement of the firefighting skills within South Australia.

"We were notified late Thursday evening by Emergency Management Australia's National Critical Crisis Coordination Centre in Canberra of a request from Canada for Australian firefighting resources to be deployed to assist.

"A state of emergency has been declared in British Columbia as continued hot dry weather is resulting in record breaking fire weather, and assistance is required to cope with current and anticipated wildland fire activity.

"DEWNR and SACFS personnel will meet with the rest of the Australian contingent, which consists of more than 40 firefighting experts from across Australia, in Sydney for a briefing on Tuesday night before departing for Canada on Wednesday morning."

International and interstate deployments have been carried out previously with DEWNR assisting in North America and CFS personnel in Indonesia.  

"Deployments such as these are valuable opportunities for increasing skills along with building national and international relationships," said Mr Miller.

"The knowledge and contacts our people gain from these kind of deployments also benefit the communities we serve in the Fire Danger Seasons ahead.

"The planned operation will see personnel working a 14 day shift, followed by a two day rest break, followed by another 14 day shift."

The six South Australians will fly out early this afternoon from Adelaide Airport.