Australia has just moved into their summer, but firefighters in New South Wales, Queensland, and Victoria have been dealing with exceptionally large numbers of massive bushfires for weeks.
Canada and the United States are each sending 21 firefighters down under to assist their Australian brothers and sisters.
The U.S. personnel will be representing the Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and U.S. Forest Service. The employees are coming from Alaska, Nevada, Montana, Colorado, Arizona, Idaho, Utah, California, Oregon, Hawaii, and Virginia.
The U.S. firefighters departed from the San Francisco International
Airport on Thursday, December 5. The Canadians arrived in Sydney December 5.
This is the first time Canadian firefighters have been deployed to Australia under the Exchange of Wildland Fire Management Resources Agreement.
The last fire assistance between the U.S and Australia was in August of 2018 when 138 Australian and New Zealand wildfire management personnel worked in the U.S. for almost 30 days to assist with wildfire suppression efforts in Northern California and the Northwest. The personnel from the Southern Hemisphere filled critical needs during the peak of the western fire season for mid-level fireline management, helicopter operations, and structure protection.
The last time the U.S sent firefighters to Australia was in 2010.