SA firefighters off to Canada to help put out wildland fires

2016-05-27 09:31
South African firefighters from Working on Fire at a recent training camp before their departure for Canada.

South African firefighters from Working on Fire at a recent training camp before their departure for Canada. (Supplied)

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Pietermaritzburg - South African wildland firefighters are gearing up for the largest international deployment in history.

A statement by Working on Fire national spokesperson Linton Rensburg said 301 Working on Fire firefighters and management would be flying to Alberta, Canada, on Sunday to help the Canadian Inter­agency Forest Fire Centre (CIFFC) with their wildland fire suppression efforts.

Out of the 301 firefighters to be sent to Canada, 25 are from KwaZulu-Natal.

“This is the biggest South African deployment (outside of the army) to assist a foreign country,” said Rensburg.

“Canada is experiencing challenging fires in particular in the province of Alberta.

“There are a number of priority fires that require human resources especially the Fort McMurray, Alberta, fire with more than of 500 000 hectares already burnt.”

He said CIFFC sent a formal request for assistance to their international partners including Working on Fire.

“In April, Working on Fire held a national deployment bootcamp in Gauteng where 400 firefighters received training to ensure they were ready for deployment,” said Rensburg.

“We also wanted to elevate the level of training to meet international standards, and in so doing, raise the level of service they offer during deployments.

“We are immensely proud of the fact that the international fire fighting community has recognised the skills and expertise within Working on Fire.”

— WR.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  firefighting

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