CANADA – Yesterday (30 May 2016) over 300 of South Africa’s firefighters have landed in Canada to get the raging wildfires under control. The Country has been struggling to contain a blaze in the Alberta Province for almost a month.
The Canadian Government requested assistance from abroad to help bring the flames under control.
Linton Rensburg the group organiser from ‘Working on Fire’, said: “These firefighters are not volunteers. We haven’t taken them off the streets. They’re professionally trained and qualified and we’re quite confident that come challenges they will face in Canada that they’re well prepared for this job.”
A few Energy companies are now restarting their operations as the threat from the wildfire continue. Fort McMurray is still mostly empty after nearly 90,000 of the population has been evacuated since early May 2016.
The wildfires are expected to be Canada’s most costly natural disaster to date. It has also made a big impact on Canada’s oil output.
These fires has destroyed more than 500,000 hectares across the northern part of the Alberta and has crossed into the neighbouring province of Saskatchewan.
The Alberta government said firefighting conditions might improve through the weekend.
Some of the evacuees from Fort McMurray might be allowed to return as soon as tomorrow (1 June 2016), if air quality and safety measures are met.
When the 281 South African Firefighters and their management landed in Canada, they started singing as a large group of locals welcomed them.
Khomt Alucie, one of the firefighters from South Africa, said the group has only known each other for a day and singing is how they bond.
The firefighters will be in Alberta for 14 days, with the possibility of an extension.
Around 2,300 firefighters are currently battling wildfires in Alberta. Firefighters have been flown in from across Canada and the U.S and now South Africa.