SA firefighters burst into song as they arrive in Canada

2016-05-30 12:10
(Working on Fire)

(Working on Fire)

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Edmonton - A team of 301 South African firefighters and their management has arrived in Canada to assist authorities there in fighting a wildfire that has been burning out of control for a month.

The firefighters from Working on Fire left Johannesburg on a chartered Air Canada Boeing 777 and flew for over 20 hours to Edmonton International Airport, arriving on Sunday evening Canadian time.

- Read more: SA deploys 301 firefighters to Canada

The firefighters received a warm welcome from local residents and burst into song at the airport, CBC News reported. One of the firefighters said singing was a way to bond with each other and foster teamwork.

They will join over 2 000 firefighters currently battling the fire, which destroyed part of Fort McMurray and continues to burn out of control, covering almost 580 000 hectares, according to CBC News.

The Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre (CIFFC) sent a formal request for assistance to their international partners including Working on Fire.

"This deployment of wildland firefighters is the biggest South African deployment ever outside of the army to assist a foreign country,” Working on Fire said.

A deployment boot camp was held in Gauteng to prepare 400 South African firefighters for deployment and to meet international standards.

“We are proud of our South African firefighters from our Working on Fire programme and we no doubt believe that they will do us proud to provide these essential services to Canada,” the organisation said before they left.

Global News reported that the team will have a rest day on Monday and a briefing on Tuesday before flying to Fort McMurray on Wednesday to start fighting the fire.

- PICS: Growing wildfire triggers largest evacuation in Canadian town's history

- See pics of the team as they left Johannesburg:

(Working on Fire, Facebook)

(Working on Fire, Facebook)

(Working on Fire, Facebook)

(Working on Fire, Facebook)

(Working on Fire, Facebook)

Read more on:    working on fire  |  canada  |  fires  |  good news

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