Queen sends message of condolence to those affected by Australia wildfires

Queen sends message of condolence to those affected by Australia wildfires

Queen sends message of condolence to those affected by Australia wildfires

The crew of federal firefighters based in the Angeles National Forest north of Los Angeles will depart on Monday, said Carrie Bilbao, a spokeswoman with the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho, which is mobilizing USA resources in response to Australia's requests for worldwide firefighting aide. They will meet up with the rest of the 21-member Canadian contingent organized by the Winnipeg-based Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre (CIFFC).

"I have been deeply saddened to hear of the continued bushfires and their devastating impact across many parts of Australia".

"That's going to kind of bother me", Smith said, standing in the departure area of the Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport.

"We're going into an area, dealing with fire fuels that we're not used to or accustomed to in Canada".

He said crews have been doing "extraordinary work" by setting controlled fires and using aircraft and machinery to try to keep the flames away.

A father and son have become the latest victims of the worst wildfire season in Australia's history.

A satellite image shows wildfires burning east of Obrost, Victoria, Australia January 4, 2020.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison defended his leadership and his government's record on climate change on Sunday (Jan 5) as milder temperatures brought hope of a respite from wildfires that have ravaged three states, claiming 24 lives and destroying nearly 2,000 homes.

Smith and fellow provincial wildfire program firefighter Trevor Tetrault are the fourth and fifth Manitobans to volunteer to go to Australia, and join the battle against unprecedented wildfires in the country.

Smith said he and Tetrault have been getting advice about how to deal with the country's heat wave from some of the firefighters who are already in Australia. But the global and inter-provincial nature of firefighting makes this mission a natural fit.

Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fizsimmons said the 264,000-hectare (652,000-acre) Green Wattle Creek fire in a national park west of Sydney could spread into Sydney's western suburbs. "Manitoba has seen crews come in from right across Canada and the United States".

Despite 20 years experience - including during some of Alberta's largest wildfire events - Anderson was anticipating a fire fight unlike any he had seen before. "They could well end up in Manitoba some day".

A total of 18 people have died nationwide, and in the state of New South Wales alone, more than 900 houses have been destroyed. A third group of 17 firefighters were deployed to the state of Queensland on December 30. Strong winds that have changed direction has hampered efforts by firefighters to contain bushfires in Australia's south-east.

While the Manitoba firefighters won't be on the front lines, they could be called on to assist the incident management team in command, aviation, planning, logistics or operations roles.

"Two star emergency ADF national support co-ordinator Major General Elwood will have national authority over the ADF joint taskforces in each of the affected states working in co-operation to support state emergency authorities", Mr Morrison said.

Australian firefighters were set for a risky day on Saturday as fires in New South Wales (NSW) and Victoria states were expected to burn out of control due to temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius and shifting strong winds that will fan and spread the flames.

Authorities had urged people in areas covered by the state of disaster to evacuate, and said on Saturday that tens of thousands of the estimated 100,000 population had left for safety. More than eight million more are under an emergency order.

"They need rain", said Tetrault.

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