A heroic group of 21 Canadian firefighters will be missing Christmas with their families this year to help tackle the Australian bushfires.
A group of 21 firefighters will today, December 4, depart from Vancouver for an expected 38-day deployment in Australia, where they will assist their fellow firefighters with the ongoing bushfire crisis.
Australian officials reportedly submitted an official request to the Winnipeg-based Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre on Friday, November 29.
Dozens of selfless firefighters throughout Canada volunteered to fly over, knowing full well this would mean missing out on the festive season.
As reported by Daily Mail Australia, Brian Pallister, premier of Canadian province Manitoba, made the following comments:
We are pleased to help the people of Australia as they face these devastating fires, especially since Manitoba has been on the receiving end of help from friends and neighbours when wildfires and other natural disasters hit our province.
[…]There’s nothing more Manitoban than offering a helping hand when someone else is in need.
Manitoba will send two firefighters, with the other 19 coming from British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Parks Canada.
This highly experienced group of firefighters were chosen for their specialist skill sets, and will reportedly help with various roles within the incident management team. Their roles will include planning, aviation and operations.
Speaking with CityNews 1130, senior member of the Canadian contingent from Edmonton Morgan Kehr said:
Certainly nobody wants to be away from family at this time of year, but Australia has been in Canada four times and helped us in our time of need and it’s nice to be able to reciprocate.
Because we have offset fire seasons, this is one of the sacrifices the guys are taking to reciprocate with Australia.
Canadian crews will initially fly out to Sydney and fight fires in New South Wales, with more crews potentially being sent over in the months ahead.
Patrick McIlwaine, from Edmonton, told CityNews 1130 he and his wife discussed the decision to leave his one-year-old daughter at Christmas time:
It’s a pros and cons list. Australia has been out here to assist us a number of times and we like to repay the favour. It’s really good for our organization as well to have our staff learn and see how other agencies do it.
Actually, i saw on the news this morning that firefighters are coming from the US and Canada to help us out! 🙌🏼🇨🇦 🇺🇸
— Grayskull Warrior (@GSkullWarrior) December 3, 2019
A very big thanks to these real life superheroes.
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.