U.S. and Canada send additional firefighters to Australia

Canadian fire authorities expect to have 87 firefighters in Australia by January 4

BLM fire employees en route Australia
18  BLM fire management employees were en route to Australia January 1, 2020. Photo via @BLMUtah.

UPDATED at 10:15 a.m. PST January 2, 2020

As we learn about other firefighters from North America traveling to Australia, we will post the information here.

Canadian firefighters Australia
Wildfire personnel from Canada arrived in Brisbane, Australia December 31, 2019. Photo by Canada Down Under.

Originally published at 3:07 p.m. PST January 2, 2020.

Both the United States and Canada have sent additional firefighters to assist with wildfires in Australia after the first wave of 42 arrived down under around December 5, 2019. Another 40 or so arrived before Christmas and both countries are now working out the logistics to deploy more personnel.

The National Interagency Fire Center in Boise announced on their Situation Report December 27 that a total of 32 fire personnel had been deployed to Australia from the United States.

From CBC.ca, December 30, 2019:

Stephen Tulle, duty officer with the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre, said a group of 15 set out for Queensland Monday, while another 21 will fly out later in the week.

The contingent of Canadian wildfire specialists stationed in Queensland and New South Wales will reach 87 by Jan. 4, he said.

This is the first time Canada has made a co-ordinated effort to send firefighters to Australia, although crews from Down Under have visited here and were vital in helping British Columbia handle widespread wildfires in 2017 and 2018, Tulle said.

Canadian firefighters AustraliaOn December 31, 2019 Andrew Crisp of the Victoria Emergency Management Commission in Australia, said they have ordered additional fire aviation specialists from US and Canada, and firefighters “who can work in remote and arduous conditions”.

The U.S. is putting together another wave. On December 31 a 20-person hand crew was being assembled on the Angeles National Forest in Southern California. Other firefighters from the U.S. may also be deployed. We will update this article as additional information becomes available.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

10 thoughts on “U.S. and Canada send additional firefighters to Australia”

  1. Hi guys I’m an Australian and I just want to give some small thanks to the American & Canadian fire service men and women who are coming or have already arrived to help Australia. I cant tell you how much it means to us. When the chips are down you find out who you’re friends are. Bless.

    1. Our thoughts and prayers are with you from Canada. I hear more Canadian Fire Fighters are flying out to help. Stay strong and God Bless.

    2. Devastated and heartbroken hearing about the loss of human and animal lives, homes and habitat. Glad US and Canada sending firefighters. Other countries need to step up and send firefighters as well.

  2. The fires in Australia are really bad. Feel for the people and wild animals. Glad US and Canada could lend a hand. It is a long way to fly over there. Stay safe!

  3. Good news…thank you to the Canadian and the US Fire Departments.
    Please keep up the continuing support and resources. It’s so appreciated and important.


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