Aussies returning favour to Canadian firefighters
Three and a half years after Canadian firefighters helped Australia during the Black Summer bushfire crisis, it's time to repay the favour.
A 200-strong Australian and New Zealand contingent is this week joining an international effort to help fight some of the worst wildfires in Canada's history, with the deployment expected to last five weeks.
Fires have burned more than 1.7 million hectares, displacing more than 29,000 people from their homes.
NSW SES volunteers Andrew Fletcher and Tony Morris from Dubbo, and staff member Colleen Taylor from Wagga Wagga will be providing logistics and financial support to Canadian firefighters.
They are part of a team that includes emergency services personnel from the NSW Rural Fire Service, Fire and Rescue NSW and the Forestry Corporation of NSW.
Mr Fletcher and Ms Taylor worked with Canadian teams during Australia's worst bushfire crisis in the summer of 2019/2020.
"I'm pretty pleased to have the opportunity to go and give them a hand," Mr Fletcher said.
"It's marvellous the way the emergency management community around the world works together."
Ms Taylor also remembers working with Canadian firefighters in Tumut.
"I did say to them when I was working with them, I'd like to return the favour one day," she said.
Emergency Services Minister Jihad Dib said despite an incredibly busy 18 months for SES dealing with flood emergencies, volunteers still put their hand up to support others in need.
"This is the Australian emergency service at its best," Mr Dib said.