News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

December 2, 2019


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First Time Canadian Firefighters Deployed to Australia

The Manitoba government is sending two highly trained individuals from the provincial wildfire program to Australia as part of a Canadian contingent on its way to support the efforts of Australian crews battling unprecedented wildfires, Premier Brian Pallister and Conservation and Climate Minister Sarah Guillemard announced today.

“We are pleased to help the people of Australia as they face these devastating fires, especially since Manitoba has been on the receiving end of help from friends and neighbours when wildfires and other natural disasters hit our province,” Pallister said.  “There's nothing more Manitoban than offering a helping hand when someone else is in need.”

On Friday, Nov. 29, the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre (CIFFC), based in Winnipeg, received an official request for assistance for human resources to assist with the ongoing wildfire situation in Australia.  Over the weekend, dozens of volunteers came forward from Wildland Fire Agencies across Canada and 21 highly qualified personnel were carefully selected for their unique skill sets.

“The province of Manitoba thanks all the staff who have stepped forward to take up this challenge, especially at this time of year,” added Guillemard.  “This is lifesaving work, but it also means they’ll be away from their families over the Christmas holidays and we want them to know we are very grateful.”

The Canadians will assist with a variety of roles within the Incident Management team, including roles in planning, aviation and operations.  The Manitoba government is pleased to send two members who will serve as an operations section chief and planning section chief.  The Manitoba crew will join members from British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Parks Canada.

The Canadian team will gather in Vancouver tomorrow and then depart for Sydney, Australia.  When they arrive, they will be assigned to fire operations in New South Wales, where they will spend over a month providing expertise and relief for the Australian crews that have been working almost non-stop on raging wildfires.  At this time, the team is expected to spend 38 days in Australia, with a return home to Canada in mid-January.

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