The Victorian Government is contributing forty-five fire personnel towards an Australian effort of 102 personnel who will travel to Canada tomorrow to assist with the escalating wildfire situation.
Several large wildfires have been raging in Canada’s western provinces over the last few weeks with hundreds of new fires starting on a daily basis. There are currently 393 wildfires burning, totalling over 1.2 million hectares.
In the last 24 hours alone, there have been 45 new fires. 18 of these in British Columbia and 11 within Alberta. More than 13,000 people were evacuated from their homes earlier this week due to northern Saskatchewan blazes, according to Red Cross.
Crews from Victoria, New South Wales, Western Australia, Australian Capital Territory, Tasmania and Queensland will fly into Vancouver, and then travel to key areas that have been affected in British Columbia and Alberta.
Victorian staff will be fulfilling specialist leadership roles including incident controller, operations, planning, logistics, safety, finance, air attack, fire behaviour analyst and public information.
The 45-strong Victorian contingent comprises of 21 personnel from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, 12 from Parks Victoria, 9 from Country Fire Authority, and single representatives from Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources, the Metroplitan Fire Brigade, and Emergency Management Victoria.
British Columbia’s relationship with Australia in sharing firefighting resources has been in place for over 15 years. Victoria has had a specific agreement for ten years allowing for the exchange of personnel, knowledge, skills, equipment, technology and mutual support in the event of an emergency.
Emergency Management are coordinating the deployment on behalf of all Australian states and territories.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water, Lisa Neville
"The Victorian deployment will travel to Canada to assist in firefighting efforts for around six weeks. Our aim is to support our Canadian counterparts to bring the wildfires under control as quickly as possible."
"I thank the Victorian team leaving today who will once again do our state proud assisting our Canadian friends."
Quote attributable to Minister for Emergency Services, Jane Garrett
"Victoria has a strong network of firefighters and emergency management personnel who operate in specialist roles and we are pleased to be able to share these resources and expertise with our international colleagues."
"We are proud of the relationship we have built with Canada over the past 10 years, and again look forward to offering our support during this busy time."
Reviewed 19 August 2020