South African Firefighters to Assist Canadians in Wildfire Combat

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wildfires international collaboration

Over 200 South African firefighters will join Canadian firefighters to combat the wildfires that have been devastating the province of Alberta. The Working on Fire program initiated by the South African Department of Forestry, Fisheries, and the Environment facilitated this remarkable international collaboration. This marks the fifth deployment of South African firefighters to Canada.

Minister Creecy Expresses Support for South African Firefighters

Barbara Creecy, the Minister of Forestry, Fisheries, and the Environment, expressed admiration and support for the brave firefighters who will be embarking on the mission to contain the wildfires. She encouraged them to raise the South Africa flag and share their expertise and camaraderie with their Canadian counterparts.

Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Canada and South Africa

The Canadian Inter-agency Forest Fire Centre (CIFFC) requested assistance from South Africa as more than 550 wildfires have already wreaked havoc on Alberta this season. In 2019, Canada and South Africa signed an MOU, facilitating the exchange of wildland fire management resources, which led to the deployment of South African firefighters to Alberta during two earlier successful deployments.

First and Second Group of Firefighters

The first group, consisting of 200 firefighters and 15 managers, will depart from Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (KMIA) on June 3, 2023. The second group, consisting of an additional 200 firefighters and 13 managers, will join the effort in Alberta a week later. Their 35-day deployment will support local firefighters in managing the wildfires.

Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion

The Working on Fire program is committed to diversity and inclusion. As a result, 25% of the selected firefighters in the initial deployment are women, and two members of the management team are women. This reflects the program’s commitment to ensuring that the firefighting force reflects the diverse population it serves.

Extensive Experience of South African Firefighters

Several of the South African firefighters have previous international firefighting experience, which will undoubtedly prove invaluable in tackling the complex fire situations they will face in Canada. Minister Creecy spoke proudly of her country’s ability to aid in this crisis, stating, “The extensive experience and training of these firefighters will significantly enhance efforts to effectively suppress and manage the wildfires in Alberta.”

Collaboration and Expertise in Action

As the South African firefighters join forces with their Canadian counterparts, their expertise and camaraderie will be a powerful force against the wildfires that threaten the people, homes, and natural beauty of Alberta. The Working on Fire program serves as a shining example of how nations can work together to address pressing global challenges and make the world a safer, more harmonious place for all.

A Russian-Spanish journalist and Cape Town native, channels his lifelong passion for South Africa into captivating stories for his local blog. With a diverse background and 50 years of rich experiences, Serjio's unique voice resonates with readers seeking to explore Cape Town's vibrant culture. His love for the city shines through in every piece, making Serjio the go-to source for the latest in South African adventures.

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