WATCH: Mzansi lauds local firefighters combatting Canadian wildfires

WATCH: Mzansi lauds local firefighters combatting Canadian wildfires

A team of 200 firefighters and 15 managers have been deployed to the province of Alberta in Canada to help with efforts to quell the wildfires in that country.

SA  firefighters in Canada 1
Working on Fire

The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment deployed the team last week through the Working on Fire programme.

The capital city of Alberta has already experienced more than 550 wildfires this season, resulting in damage to property and infrastructure, leaving thousands of people displaced.

Working On Fire's Trevor Abrahams says the deployment is expected to last for 35 days.

The group's arrival in song and dance was captured on a video, which has since gone viral and received praise on social media.

"This marks the fifth deployment of a Working on Fire team to Canada, a testament to the strong partnership established between the two nations,” Abrahams said.

“The request for urgent assistance came from the Canadian Inter-agency Forest Fire Centre in terms of the existing Memorandum of Understanding between Canada and South Africa. 

“The MOU signed in 2019, provides for the exchange of wildland fire management resources. 

“It was put in place following two earlier deployments to Canada to suppress wildfires in Alberta and Manitoba," added Abrahams.

Abrahams said the team underwent intensive three-day refresher training at the Kishugu Training Academy in Mbombela before heading off to Canada.

In 2021, the department deployed 100 firefighters to assist with firefighting efforts in that country and the Manitoba government thanked the Working On Fire firefighters for their assistance.

Abrahams says the second team of  200 firefighters and 13 managers will be deployed in a week’s time.

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