Canada/Australia — B.C. firefighters are en route to Australia to help fight their record-setting, deadly forest fires. Ministry of Forests officials confirmed Wednesday morning that “we have had a request from Australia for help” and two senior managers with experience in Australia will go first to assess what resources British Columbia can best provide. One of those already travelling to the fires Down Under is northern B.C.’s Bruce Young, based in Smithers. He led the 52-firefighter team that went to the state of Victoria in southern Australia during their massive 2006-07 fire disaster that burned close to 1 million hectares. This fire complex is even worse. So far it has killed at least 170 people with many more bodies still to be recovered. Entire communities and villages have been incinerated, more than 750 homes burned, and the advancing front line of the main blaze is close to 100 kilometres long. Contributing to the massive series of wildfires is a severe drought in south Australia, strong and sustained windstorms, and arson strongly suspected by law enforcement officials. B.C. has a standing agreement with the State of Victoria that enables the exchange of personnel, knowledge, skills, equipment, technologies and mutual support in the event of an emergency. The agreement was signed in December, 2006 when Australia last requested assistance from B.C.