JOHANNESBURG, (The Southern African Times) – South Africa is deploying a total of 109 firefighters and management to Canada to assist with firefighting efforts in that country, said Minister Barbara Creecy of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment Tuesday.
Minister Creecy said the firefighters are destined to the Province of Manitoba in Canada and will be there for 34 days.
“I would like to extend my good wishes to the Working on Fire team as you embark on your fourth deployment to Canada to assist in bringing the fires currently raging across Manitoba under control. I trust that, as in the past, you will fly South Africa’s flag high and that your camaraderie will stand you in good stead as you battle alongside colleagues from other Canadian provinces and cities to save lives and homes,” she said.
This request of assistance came from Canadian Inter-agency Forest Fire Centre, which has, based on a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Canada and South Africa, asked for firefighting assistance from the Working on Fire to assist with their fire management in Canada, and a crew of 100 firefighters and a nine-person management team has been selected for the mission, according to Creecy.
Around 85 percent of the crew are young people and about 30 percent are women.
The team will leave for Canada Tuesday night.
Canada has been experiencing record-breaking heat and associated dry weather. Large wildland fires are burning in Manitoba province and extreme fire danger exists across the western provinces with new wildland fires expected.