South Africa / Canada –There are 25 fire-fighters from KZN who will assist the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre (CIFFC) with their wildland fire suppression efforts.
SOUTH African wildland fire-fighters are getting ready for the biggest international deployment in history.
South African fire-fighters from Working On Fire at a recent training camp before their departure to Canada.
According to Linton Rensburg, national spokesman for Working On Fire, 301 fire-fighters and management from the South African Working on Fire programme have started to assemble in Johannesburg, Gauteng, from where they will fly to Alberta, Canada, on Sunday, to assist the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre (CIFFC) with their wildland fire suppression efforts.
CIFFC has sent a formal request for assistance to their international partners, including Working On Fire. This pending international deployment comes at the back of fire-fighters from Working On Fire who went to Canada in 2015, where they assisted authorities with fire suppression and prevention services, said Rensburg.
In April, Working on Fire held a national deployment bootcamp in Gauteng, where 400 fire-fighters received training to ensure that they were physically fit and ready for deployment.
We also wanted to elevate the level of training to meet international standards, and in so doing, to raise the level of service they offer during deployments. Instructors from the WOF Training Academy conducted fitness drills and representatives from Canada demonstrated how Canadian water handling equipment works.
As part of a resource sharing arrangement between Canadian fire-fighting agencies and ourselves, the fire-fighters will be deployed to Alberta, from where they will be dispatched to assist with the suppression of wildland fires in the surrounding forested areas. The wildland fire control effort and the supporting strategies are largely for forest fires in both remote areas and on the forest and rural land interface, said Rensburg.
Their integrated fire management services and products include fire prevention, fire detection, fire suppression and fire awareness. These were lauded as huge successes and have also been successfully implemented by Working On Fire in Chile and Australia.
We are proud of our South African fire-fighters from our Working On Fire programme and we no doubt believe that they will do us proud to provide these essential services to Canada. Working on Fire has set the benchmark in providing training to young men and women in becoming professional wildland fire-fighters and in so doing not only providing them with work opportunities but also make a contribution to protecting the environment, said Rensburg.