21 Sep SA fire crews return home
After a month-long deployment to northern Manitoba in Canada, a 109-strong fire fighting crew is finally returning home to South Africa.
Crews from South Africa Working on Fire headed to Manitoba on August 11 to help assist local and international fire crews deal with a series or blazes through the province.
As of the middle of this month there has been 444 wildfires fires in the area, with over 1.25million hectares being burned. While a small number of fires still remain, just two are considered to be ‘out of control’ meaning the SA fire crew can now return home having offered their assistance.
Sarah Guillemard, Minister for Manitoba Conservation and Climate praised the firefighters in a local news release. “As Manitobans, we say thank you to everyone who answered the call for assistance as wildfires raged across our province due to the extremely dry conditions this summer… South Africa will forever hold a place in the hearts of Manitobans and be remembered as an international partner that we can count on should the need arise again in the future.”
Trevor Abrahams, South Africa Working on Fire Managing Director, added: “We leave Manitoba grateful for the opportunity to have been of service and will take home the lessons from this experience, including the extensive use of water pumps, long lines of hoses and the reliance on air transport to get to the fires.
“We feel we fit in well with the local crews and appreciate the praise and support of the local fire commanders. The team enjoyed their camping experience near the fire line and some interesting encounters with the local bear population.”