New Zealand firefighters to help battle Canadian fires


New Zealand is sending its fourth and largest contingent of firefighters to Canada to help battle massive wildfires in British Columbia.
The 80 men and women will be drawn from Fire and Emergency NZ, the Department of Conservation, and Forestry contractors and fly to Vancouver between today and Monday, FENZ national rural manager Kevin O’Connor said.
The mix of front line crews and incident managers will spend five weeks in British Columbia as the province experiences its most destructive wildfire season in 60 years.
New Zealand has a standing agreement with Canada to supply each other with support and Canadian officials made a formal request for help earlier in the week, Mr O’Connor said.
“Canada is close to exhausting all available wildfire management resources within their country.
“Our fire crews and incident management team members have a range of skills in high demand during lengthy firefighting operations. These include experience in logistics, communications, ferrying supplies into remote locations, and the use of aircraft,” he said.
The New Zealanders will join more than 3000 people and 200 planes fighting blazes in British Columbia, where about 135 fires are burning. NZN

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