Aussies join wildfire fight - Metro US

Aussies join wildfire fight

A team of Australian firefighters were greeted with an impromptu round of applause as they entered the international arrivals terminal at YVR Thursday to help fight wildfires raging in the Interior.

Seven New Zealand firefighters arrived on Wednesday.

Geoff Pike, who is part of the group of 22 Australians, said it’s an “honour” to give back to Canadians, given that many of our firefighters helped battle the deadly bushfires in Australia in February.

Andrew Graystone, another Australian team member, said the newcomers will “mix straight in” with the Canadian crews because we use the same firefighting tactics here as they do Down Under.

“The forest types are obviously different, (which) creates different fire behaviour,” he said.

“Adjusting to the (B.C.) terrain will be some of the hardest things our team will have to do.”

More than 2,500 firefighters from B.C., and hundreds more from across the country, are battling some of the roughly 800 wildfires burning in the province.

Gene Desnoyers, a local fire centre manager who greeted the Australian team at the airport, said our crews and resources are “maxed” and we need outside help.

The Australian and New Zealand firefighters will be working on incident management and will likely be stationed in Kamloops.

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