A third team of 200 firefighters and 15 managers will be deployed to Alberta, Canada, by the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment’s Working on Fire Programme. The deployment comes in response to a request from the Canadian Inter-agency Forest Fire Centre (CIFFC) for urgent assistance.
The wildfires in Canada have been raging since late May, and have displaced thousands of people. The third team of South African firefighters will be deployed to the province of Quebec.
The first two teams of South African firefighters – Mzanzi 1 Hotshots and Mzanzi 2 Hotshots were deployed to Alberta, and were recognised by Canadian wildfire authorities for their commitment and dedication.
Mzanzi 1 Hotshots returned home on Sunday, July 9, after a 35-day mission, with zero injuries. The team received high praise from the High Commissioner of Canada in South Africa, Mr. Christopher Cooter, who said Canada needed the courage and resilience of the South African firefighters.
“When I look at you, I see the best of South Africa. You represent the future of South Africa,” said Mr. Cooter at the homecoming event for the team at the Kishugu Training Academy in Mbombela on Monday 10 July 2023.
Minister Barbara Creecy, in a message conveyed by Mr. Stuart Mangold at the same event, said:
“Your commitment to the mission, your firefighting skills, and your positive spirits, earned you widespread recognition and gratitude from both Canadian authorities, local communities and indeed the international community.”
The third team of South African firefighters will depart from Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (KMIA) on Tuesday, July 18, 2023 at 15h00. Their departure will bring to 600 the number of South African firefighters and 43 managers deployed to Canada since the departure of the first team on 3 June 2023.
Meanwhile, Mzanzi 2 Hotshots are scheduled to touch down at KMIA on Thursday 20 July 2023 at 12h55.
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