Island forest firefighters bound for Australia
Two wildfire fighters from Prince Edward Island are heading to Australia to assist with the unprecedented forest fires happening there.
On February 6, two staff members from the department of Environment will travel to the state of Victoria, Australia with a team of professional wildland fire fighters and fire management specialists for a 31-day deployment. The Islanders will be part of a 20-person crew from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Quebec involved in direct suppression work on fire incidents within the state.
“Our hearts go out to those who have been impacted by the fires in Australia. I wish our forest firefighters a safe journey as they help to end these wildfires.”
- Brad Trivers, Minister of Environment, Water and Climate Change.
According to the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre, there are already Canadian firefighters in both states of New South Wales and Victoria as well as in South Australia.
“Firefighters play a critical part in keeping our communities safe,” said Bloyce Thompson, Minister of Justice and Public Safety. “We are grateful to have an incredibly skilled fire response force on the Island.”
It has been an unprecedented fire season in Australia with severe fires along the east coast with some starting as early as August. Since late December other large fires have erupted in southern New South Wales and eastern Victoria and more recently in Australian Capital Territory. Fire conditions continue to be challenging.
Here in Prince Edward Island, the department of Environment, Water and Climate Change is responsible for wild fire response within the province. Staff deployed to Victoria will gain skills that could be needed if PEI faces serious wildfires in the future.
Traditionally, most wildfires on PEI tend to happen in May and early June.
The skill of forest fire fighting staff from the Island is recognized nationally. During the extreme fires of 2018, Island wild fire staff provided assistance to British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario and Alberta again in 2019.
Department of Environment, Water and Climate Change