Australian firefighters arriving in B.C. this week

Australia sends firefighters

More international help is arriving on the frontlines of wildfires across B.C.

Thirty-four Australian firefighters are landing in Vancouver on Tuesday evening. Included in the contingent is a nine-person incident management team and various specialized operational leadership roles, such as task force leaders, divisional supervisors and technical specialists.

After being briefed upon arrival, they will be assigned to fires under the direction of the BC Wildfire Service.

"Australia and Canada have a long history of helping each other out when wildfire activity is high," said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. "During this extremely challenging fire season, we greatly appreciate the support we're receiving from Canadian provinces, the federal government and our partners abroad."

Strict COVID-19 protocols will be in place for the Australian personnel coming to B.C. They will live and work in operational "bubbles" apart from other firefighting personnel to minimize COVID-19 risks. They will also remain in their own bubbles when away from the fire line.

The Australians are joining hundreds of other out-of-province personnel who are working on B.C. wildfires, including 113 from Quebec who arrived on July 23 and 101 Mexicans who arrived on July 24.

Out-of-province firefighting personnel who will be in British Columbia as of Tuesday, July 27, 2021:

  • Australia: 34
  • Mexico: 101
  • Quebec: 134
  • Alberta: 61
  • Nova Scotia: one
  • Parks Canada: 17
  • Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre (CIFFC): one
  • Canadian Armed Forces: approximately 90 as of July 23 (increasing to 250 by July 28)

As of July 26, there are 3,558 people involved in firefighting operations in B.C., including 1,252 contractors.

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