Group of PWS Fire Crew heading to Canada to help with their bushfires
PWS Fire Crew - Canada deployment

PWS firefighters answer the call to help in Canada

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Nine Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS) personnel are among a contingent of 21 Tasmanians being deployed internationally this week, to assist with the response to wildfires in western Canada.

The highly trained Tasmanian contingent also includes 10 Tasmania Fire Service and Tasmania State Emergency Service personnel, and two specialist heavy machinery supervisory firefighters from Sustainable Timber Tasmania.

“We are proud to be part of this deployment and stand ready to assist our friends in Canada, who have been battling extreme fire conditions for weeks," PWS State Fire Manager Katy Edwards said.

“The ability to rapidly establish and deploy a capability such as this is testament to the collaborative cross-agency arrangements in Tasmania, underpinned by the strong relationships that exist between our three fire response agencies."

The Tasmanians, who left for Canada on 24 and 25 May, will undertake a range of duties in firefighting, planning, public communications, and public information roles as part of the broader Australian and New Zealand contingent of 196 people.

The assistance comes as the National Council for Fire and Emergency Services in Australia and New Zealand (AFAC) received a request from Canada for assistance in Northern Alberta, as the region battles more than 175 wildfires, burning over 2.1 million hectares.

Australia has an ongoing mutual fire management arrangement with Canada which allows for the exchange of personnel, resources, and technology when required.

The teams will support the work of about 2,500 personnel from the US and Canada that have been fighting these fires.

At this stage it is estimated that the deployment will be for just over a month, with an anticipated return date of 30 June.

Australian fire services have deployed to support Canada or the United States numerous times since 2000 and the support has been reciprocated into Australia over several summers.​

Published 25/05/2023