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Australian Frontline Fire Crews Cheer As Canadian Team Arrives To Help Tackle Bushfires

by : Cameron Frew on : 07 Jan 2020 16:41
Australian Frontline Fire Crews Cheer As Canadian Team Arrives To Help Tackle BushfiresAustralian Frontline Fire Crews Cheer As Canadian Team Arrives To Help Tackle BushfiresCBC News/PA Images

Firefighters have been working tirelessly in tackling Australia’s never-ending, deadly, destructive bushfires. When the Canadian fire crews arrived to help, it’s unsurprising they were greeted with cheers. 

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As a result of the infernos turning the country to ash, at least 25 people have died and an estimated one billion animals killed. In New South Wales alone, 1,588 homes have been destroyed and a further 653 damaged.

However, a little bit of light arrived from 16 hours away. As Canadian wildfire specialists stepped off the plane at Sydney’s airport, they were cheered by Australians.

Bushfire AustraliaBushfire AustraliaPA Images

There’s a growing Canadian presence Down Under in service of assisting with the bushfires: but it’s not just firefighters. There’s experts across a range of fields, from aviation and logistics to fire behaviour prediction, looking at how the blazes move and assessing how they could be contained or prevented.

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Alberta’s Morgan Kehr, senior representative of the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre, told CBC

It’s something we really have to wrap our heads around. We have seen extreme fire behaviour in Canada. But not over the geographic area we are dealing with here. Or with the frequency.

The Rural Fire Service – built almost entirely of volunteers – are being put through their paces by the fires, burning at an uncontrollable pace throughout New South Wales (the amount of area burned is now 20 times larger than an average year).

Australia bushfiresAustralia bushfiresPA Images

Group captain Will Lee said: 

It’s the largest voluntary fire service in the world. A fire came through here the other day, fairly ferociously, and it was stopped by a ton of heroes.

Temperatures are expected to soar again by the end of this week, rising into the 30s with gusty wind conditions endangering Australia once again.

The Canadian presence will be thinned out, however. Their country endures annual forest fires, therefore some experts will return home to carry out mitigation work in the spring to help prevent a crisis such as Australia’s.

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Firefighter And Rescued Koala Watch Helplessly As Raging Bushfire Destroys Its HomeFirefighter And Rescued Koala Watch Helplessly As Raging Bushfire Destroys Its HomeEden Hills Country Fire Service/Facebook

Only at the turn of the new year, ecologists put the number of dead animals at 480 million – but as the blazes continue to burn, the death count continues to rise. Now, the number is estimated to be more than 800 million (if including bats, frogs and invertebrates, it’d be more than one billion dead).

You can donate to the Australian Red Cross here. Alternatively, you can donate to the New South Wales Rural Fire Service here, or the Queensland Fire Service here.

If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]

Cameron Frew

After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BCTJ-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He's now left his Scottish homelands and took up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.

Topics: News, Australia, Bushfires, Canada, New South Wales, Wildfires

Credits

CBC
  1. CBC

    Canadian fire crews cheered in Australia as front-line teams prepare for the worst