Ten staff from Forest Fire Management Victoria (FFMVic) will join crews from other Victorian agencies and across Australia to help fight large blazes raging across Canada.
Made up of staff from both DELWP and Parks Victoria, FFMVic personnel will take on specialist roles while in Canada, providing much needed support to local crews battling fires which have already destroyed more than 130,000 hectares.
DELWP safety adviser Tracy Culhane (Myrtleford) is representing the North East as part of the FFMVic crew, which are adding their expertise to the international contingent.
FFMVic Chief Fire Officer Stephanie Rotarangi will farewell staff at the airport today, thanking them for assisting Canadian authorities battle the British Columbia fires which have caused the evacuations of more than 30,000 people.
“Our skilled staff are among the best in the world and I’m proud we can contribute to this international effort.”
“I wish all of our crews the best of luck and offer them my thanks on behalf of all Victorians.”
The Victorian crew also includes three members from the CFA, with firefighters prepared for a deployment that could potentially last 42 days.
British Columbia’s relationship with Australia allows for the exchange of personnel, knowledge, skills, equipment, technology and mutual support in the event of an emergency.
Fire personnel from British Columbia were deployed to Australia in 2007 and 2009 to help respond to busy fire seasons here, given the Australian fire season typically occurs during British Columbia’s winter and spring months.
Personnel from Australia were deployed to British Columbia to assist with firefighting efforts in 2009 and 2014.