Three specialist South Australian firefighters deploy to Canada
Staff from the South Australian Country Fire Service (CFS) and Department for Environment and Water (DEW) will fill one-third of the required Aviation and Incident Management Team specialists from Australia's southern hub to help Canada battle more than 450 wildfires in the British Columbia district.
At this stage Canada has requested a small team from Australia and New Zealand, with experience in the management of large scale and complex fires sought.
Staff to be deployed are:
Justin Cook - CFS Firefighter with 141 Forestry Brigade (Mt Gambier)
Role - Planning officer (Develops strategic and tactical plans for fighting fires for up to 12 hours in advance)
Amy Riebe - CFS State Head Quarters staff member and CFS Bushfire Management Planning Officer
Role - Public Information (Ensures current information and warnings on fires is provided to media and public. Coordinates media activity on fire ground)
Sam Sanderson - DEW Manager of Operations for the Fire and Flood Management Unit and an Aerial Ignition Specialist
Role - Ignition Specialist (Coordinates and conducts strategic back burns with aerial and ground ignitions.)
"In the lead-up to our own Fire Danger Season, we are pleased to be able to help by offering another two of our small team of staff to aid international partners in crisis," SA CFS Assistant Chief Officer Daniel Austin said.
"Fires do not know boundaries or borders and as a firefighting service we are ready to respond both within Australia and overseas," he said.
Fiona Gill, Director of the Fire and Flood Management Unit in the Department for Environment and Water stated that:
"Sam Sanderson has been instrumental in developing air ignition capabilities for DEW since its inception and has continued to be actively involved in coordinating and managing the program for more than 10 years.
"These skills are vital in the back burning operations used in large wildfire situations, where lighting up areas from the air can create strategic breaks in the fuel and limit the spread and impact of a fire."
The three members will depart Adelaide at 11:00am tomorrow for Canada, with the initial deployment proposed for 21 days.