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Canadian fire teams flock to Australia to help with wild fires

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Massive bushfires continue to spread across Australia this week, decimating wildlife and wreaking havoc within communities across the nation.  

Satellite images from @CopernicusEMS show πŸ”₯ and smoke plumes in NSW and Victoria, Australia πŸ‡¦πŸ‡Ί

A fifth team of Canadian firefighters from @CIFFC πŸ‡¨πŸ‡¦ will depart for Victoria @vicemergency on January 6. pic.twitter.com/p9FYH4Zf10β€” Tony Judd (@tony_judd) January 3, 2020

Multiple Canadian deployments have been sent to Australia to help with crews who are already battling the fires, which have been burning since September.

According to the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre (CIFFC), 86 Canadian personnel have been sent to Australia as of January 6. 

bienvenue to our brave Canadian fire experts arriving at #Sydney this morning to a warm Australian welcome ⁦@canadadownunder⁩ ⁦@CIFFC⁩ ⁦@NSWRFS⁩ #ThankYou pic.twitter.com/Hw2a3EFtl0β€” Sharon Pinney (@SharonPinney1) January 6, 2020

The latest deployment will replace the first group of 21 people who left on December 3.

“Throughout the holiday season, the Canadian agencies worked diligently to find additional resources to assist our friends in Australia,” said Kim Connors, executive Director of the CIFFC said in a press release.

“Canadians continue to offer their heartfelt support and sympathy to people of Australia and the Canadian wildland community is working hard to identify additional resources in order to help with their suppression efforts.”

Several fire experts arrived at the Sydney airport last night and were greeted by the Consul General of Canada, Angela Bogdan.

“Anything small thing that you do, hand that you shake, hour off that you can give somebody is worth more than anything else we could have done,” said Bogdan upon the arrival of the latest deployment of Canadian fire experts. 

Consul General of Canada ⁦@CGAngelaBogdan⁩ welcomes fourth deployment of Canadian fire experts at Sydney airport. Follow ⁦@CIFFC⁩ for latest news on their work in Australia. pic.twitter.com/0p9Ol8kAlHβ€” Canada Down Under (@canadadownunder) January 6, 2020

According to the CIFFC, of the 86 personnel, none are front-line firefighters. The Canadian specialists from across the country have assumed a variety of roles in command aviation, planning, and logistics and operations. 

Team members come from across Canada, including Yukon, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, and Newfoundland Labrador.

Parks Canada is assisting with firefighting efforts primarily in New South Wales.

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