The 42 firefighting personnel from Canada and the United States have arrived in Australia. Each country sent 21 fire supervision and aviation specialists who will assist with suppressing the fires that have been burning in nearly unprecedented numbers over the last several weeks. There is no long term relief in sight since the Australian summer is just starting.
The Sydney Morning Herald has an interesting article about the Americans being incorporated into the New South Wales fire culture. Check out their very interesting article and the photos. Here is an excerpt:
As the first ever deployment of American firefighters made the descent into Sydney from the United States on Saturday morning, the bushfire smoke cloaking the city for the past week filled the aircraft cabin. For firefighting aviation specialist Michelle Moore, from Idaho, the smell wasn’t alarming.
“I understand it’s pretty traumatic for you guys, but it’s something we deal with – it’s our comfort zone,” she said. “It smells like it’s time to go to work.”
The group is spending Sunday in briefings before heading out on Monday to locations including the “mega fire” around Gospers Mountain that stretches from the Hawkesbury into the Hunter and Central Coast regions, and the Currowan fire north of Batemans Bay on the South Coast.
Inside the briefing notes on Sunday was the important lesson of getting familiar with Australia’s spiders and snakes. Fire and Rescue NSW Commissioner Paul Baxter said the Australian accent will probably also take some getting used to.