Working on Fire deploy to Canada

301 Firefighters and management from the South African Working on Fire Programme deployed to Alberta, Canada, on Sunday, 29 May 2016 to assist the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre (CIFFC) with their wildland fire suppression efforts.

Working on Fire – Canada deployment

Working on Fire (PTY) Ltd has successfully completed numerous international deployments in the past. We always agree on remuneration with our firefighters when going on deployments of this nature and, as in this instance, formal contracts were signed.

We are a company that is proud of the service we deliver and over the years, we have proven to the world that we are experts in fighting wildfires. We are ultimately here to save lives, the environment, and property from the damages caused by wildfires.

To have a dispute about remuneration, and to be accused of being unfair towards our people, is in direct contradiction of our company values.

It is part of the firefighter ethos to first and foremost deliver an emergency service.

We are extremely disappointed that we couldn’t resolve this internally before it escalated to become an international incident.

For Working on Fire (PTY) Ltd, it has never been about making money.  It has always been about assisting countries (such as Canada) who are facing massive and destructive wildfires.

We are currently investigating the matter internally and wish to apologise to both the Canadian government and Canadian citizens for any inconvenience this may have caused.

We wish to ensure the public that we are treating this matter with the utmost importance, and are committed to finding an amicable solution as soon as possible.

Scotty Scott

Thank you for coming to our rescue. Its such an honor for all the people fighting this fire to aid in the help. Now this is how the world should be. Kudos and welcome to Canada, please spend some time and enjoy our country. I am proud of you all for coming this far away from your home. Just a big big warm welcome and hugs. Please stay safe fighting the fire. Big Big Welcome. Facebook

Elmary Moamoge

It is such an emotional and exciting experience to see someone you know personally doing something so huge for the world to appreciate. I am so so proud of my own township guys. Facebook

Elridge Raadt and Mervin Esburn

Including our South African guys whom are leaving their warm homes to go and help Canada. We are really proud of each and everyone of you and may God bless you and protect you throughout your journey. Facebook

Francine Doucet

I would like to take the opportunity to tell all those Firefighter , who are out there risking their owen lives to save Fort McMurray Prpert Upkeep. Each and every one of you are doing a fantastic job, i am a very proud person of all those Firefighter who are doing such a great job, it’s been a long run and it isn’t over yet. But soon i hope that each and every one of you will return home safe to your familyes. Thank you to all of you Firefighter for doing such an amazing job, those moments will never be forgotton and my prayers are with each and every one of you. From a Canadian may God Bless each and every one of you, stay safe and my last thought is that it will be all over soon. Facebook

Cynthia J Jansen

This is what makes me proud to be a South African. moments like these and your heart swell with pride with tears in your eyes. I pray God’s protecting over each one of you. I pray that he will keep you under His wings, that He will give you the strength to do your work but most of all, that your spirits will stay high. proud of you. Cananda…..be good to our boys and girls, xoxoxo. Facebook

Steffani Cameron

From Vancouver, BC, by way of Mexico, it’s breaking my heart to see my homeland burning. But your volunteers make my heart swell. From my youth I have been fascinated with Africa (but particularly South Africa) and its writers like Chinua Achebe and Nadine Gordimer and everyone in between. I have always wanted to go to South Africa and in the next two years I will! But now it will be with a bigger love for you than ever before. Thank you. What a passionate and joyous arrival they made with their song and dance. Canada is love with them. smile emoticon. Facebook

Pieter Fouche

Thanks for putting your lives on the line not just for countrymen, but for humanity as a whole. I am so proud to call myself South African with folks like you showing the world the true spirit of love and caring of our country’s people. Stay safe and come back safely. Facebook

Amy O'Keefe

From Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Thank you Thank you Thank you. Can not say it enough. We welcome you, we thank you. We hope you get to see some of our beautiful country while you are here. But above all else, stay safe. Facebook

Elmarie Kemp

THANK YOU SA! We in ?? welcome you! The Fort McMurray wildfire remains out of control. It is estimated to cover 579,946 hectares, including the Saskatchewan side. Proud of my native country’s, men! Facebook

Marika Atkinson

All of us in Alberta will welcome you with open arms! We remember fondly your great efforts in previous years, you are hard-working, positive and very capable. Welcome back! Facebook

Art Witklip

Brave South Africans showing Ubuntu to another people a world away. This is the true South African spirit not that which we have been reduced to here at home by corrupt leaders tearing our nation apart. May they be protected on this journey of kindness and professional assistance in this difficult task. Proudly South African. Facebook

Matilda Gillingham

From Newfoundland to Alberta a big thumbs up for keeping our families safe!! Great job thank God for all your hard work and dedication we love you all. Facebook

Doug Robertson

I spent a month in SA over Christmas exploring my wife’s homeland. I was touched by the generosity of South Africans who were struggling with unemployment and lack of opportunity that we take for granted in Canada. People that had never met me welcomed me into their homes like a long lost brother or nephew and gave freely of what they had. It doesn’t surprise me that SA is sending so many fine young people to aid us now. And the singing and dancing of the fire fighters makes me miss the friends and family I made over there even more. Facebook

Deb Chrisohou

Thank you for coming all the way to Canada to help us – we appreciate your sacrifice of time away from your families and friends and risking your lives to help. I pray for your safety and Albertans thank you. Facebook

Working on Fire in Canada media news

Watch: SA firefighters land in Canada and burst into song

Feature Image: Facebook / Working on Fire The chanting and singing are reported to help the team bond and to feel unified as they take on the massive blaze in Canada. Video credit: YouTube / AP Imagine the goosebumps any South African expats would have experienced hearing this.

SA firefighters burst into song as they arrive in Canada

Edmonton – A team of 301 South African firefighters and their management has arrived in Canada to assist authorities there in fighting a wildfire that has been burning out of control for a month. The firefighters from Working on Fire left Johannesburg on a chartered Air Canada Boeing 777 and flew for over 20 hours to Edmonton International Airport, arriving on Sunday evening Canadian time.

South African firefighters arrive to help fight Fort McMurray wildfire

The first thing the 281 South African firefighters did when they touched down in Edmonton was sing. They sang soldier songs – songs of South Africa – while the large crowd gathered there to welcome them cheered.

‘I’m ready’: South African firefighters arrive in Alberta

A group of 300 South African firefighters received an emotional and joyful welcome upon touching down in Edmonton on Sunday evening. The firefighters will join more than 2,200 of their Canadian counterparts battling 14 active wildfires in Alberta. “This is a nice change from everything that’s been going on,” long-time Fort McMurray resident Denise Malley told CTV Edmonton on Sunday.

South African firefighters arrive in Alberta to combat wildfire

The Air Canada Boeing 777-200LR landed at Edmonton International Airport after a 22-hour flight from Johannesburg, South Africa. The flight, arranged by Air Canada, carried approximately 300 South African firefighters and management personnel. What is known as the Fort McMurray fire began raging out of control at the beginning of May.

Update – Working on Fire in Canada

31 May 2016

Working on Fire in Canada deployment update

‪#‎WOFinCanada ‪#‎CIFFC ‪#‎ABWildfires‪#‎AirCanada ‪#‎CanHCZA ‪#‎ORTAMBO ‪#‎PROUDLYSA
Our firefighters had a good rest yesterday after their 22 hour flight to Edmonton, Alberta from Johannesburg, South Africa. Today is their last day in Edmonton with a full briefing and final equipment check. Tomorrow is a big day as they fly out to Fort McMurray where they will be based. 

This is a very emotional trip as they all appreciate and understand the challenges the residents of FMM had to face when they had to evacuate their town. They should become fully operational by Thursday.

The firefighters also did physical exercises today to get over their jet lag. Once again they have all expressed their appreciation and thanks to the people of Edmonton for the warm welcoming they received! 

30 May 2016

Firefighters arrive safely in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

‪#‎WOFinCanada ‪#‎CIFFC ‪#‎ABWildfires‪#‎AirCanada ‪#‎CanHCZA ‪#‎ORTAMBO ‪#‎PROUDLYSA
The Air Canada Boeing 777-200LR arrived at 05:30 SAST in Edmonton carrying the largest deployment ever of firefighters from South Africa’s Working on Fire Programme who will assist in firefighting efforts underway in Alberta.

Our fire fighters were overwhelmed with the reception they received in Edmonton and the well wishes and thousands of messages of support made them feel at home.
They are in particular grateful for the warm manner in which the Canadians have taken to them. Our firefighters are being debriefed and they will have a rest day today before being deployed on Wednesday to the Fort McMurray area.

29 May 2016

Excitement and farewell

‪#‎WOFinCanada ‪#‎CIFFC ‪#‎ABWildfires‪#‎AirCanada ‪#‎CanHCZA ‪#‎ORTAMBO ‪#‎PROUDLYSA
It was with excitement and tears of joy as the 301 firefighters and management members made their way to board the AirCanada Boeing 777. The crew is expected to fly for over 20 hours before landing at their final destination, where they will be assisting to suppress wildfires. We wish them well. 

28 May 2016

Firefighters in high spirits ahead of flight to Canada

‪#‎WOFinCanada ‪#‎ABWildfire ‪#‎CIFFC #AirCanada #CanHCZA
“As a country we needed to respond to the call for help from Canada as they are facing a major environmental challenge. Our fire fighters are brave and patriotic in going to the assistance of Canada”, Deputy Minister Barbara Thomson speaking today in Gauteng at official send off for 300 fire fighters from Working on Fire.

The Canadian High Commissioner in South Africa, Sandra McCardell, thanked the fire fighters for their commitment and dedication to come to the aide of Canada. 

“Our fire fighters have been professionally trained to international standards and instructors from the Canadian fire authorities were in South Africa in April to train them in the use of the equipment used in Canada and they were also taught about the type of conditions they might expect”, Dep Minister Thomson.

25 May 2016

Biggest Deployment ever as Working on Fire prepares to help Canada

A team consisting of 301 Fire fighters and management from the South African Working on Fire Programme assembled in Johannesburg, Gauteng, from where they will fly to Alberta, Canada, on Sunday, 29 May 2016, to assist the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre (CIFFC) with their wildland fire suppression efforts.

This deployment of wildland firefighters is the biggest South African deployment ever to assist a foreign country.

We are immensely proud of the fact that the international fire fighting community has recognised the skills and expertise within Working on Fire to provide essential integrated fire management services at an international level.

A special moment for all these young men and women from Working on Fire, safe travels!