Canada wildfires: Australian firefighters deployed to fight British Columbia blazes


July 18, 2017 17:26:53

Australia is sending 50 firefighters and Canada is deploying military aircraft to battle rapidly spreading wildfires in British Columbia that have forced 39,000 people in the Canadian province from their homes.

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said the western province had made two requests to the Federal Government for military assistance to fight the fires, which were expected to worsen.

The military has sent two planes and five helicopters to help with evacuations and transportation for first responders, according to the Department of National Defence.

British Columbia chief fire information officer Kevin Skrepnek said the Australians were due to arrive on Wednesday.

Among the Australians being deployed is the Northern Territory Fire, Rescue and Emergency Services’ District Officer David Letheby.

“It is a little bit daunting, but I will be working alongside Australia’s very best incident management teams and hopefully we will be in a position to allow the Canadians to take some time off,” Mr Letheby said.

“This emergency has been going for a number of weeks and we trust we will be able to provide some welcome relief.”

There were 159 fires across the province in an area north-east of Vancouver, according to authorities.

No casualties have been reported.

Chief fire information officer Kevin Skrepnek said…

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