A 45-member team of Working on Fire (WoF) firefighters that spent about a month in the province of Alberta in Western Canada assisting in combating the huge Chuckegg fire which burnt over 340,000 ha in that country is expected back in South Africa on Tuesday.
Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, Barbara Creecy and the High Commissioner of Canada in South Africa Sandra McCardell will jointly hold a media briefing to mark the return of the department’s WoF firefighters to South Africa.
The WoF firefighters formed part of teams of firefighters from all over Alberta, Saskatchewan, British Colombia, New Brunswick, Ontario, Manitoba, Yukon, North West Territories, Mexico and the US combating the fire that started on 12 May 2019.
The South African Department of Environment, Fisheries and Forestry has a Memorandum of Understanding with the Canadian Department of Natural Resources, in terms of which either country may request urgent support from the other with regards to wildfire management, the department said in a statement.
WoF was launched in September 2003 as part of the South African government’s initiative to create jobs and to alleviate poverty, and employs more than 5,000 fully trained young men and women as wildfire firefighters in more than 200 bases across South Africa.
– African News Agency (ANA)