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Victorian emergency services to assist Canada with firefighting efforts

25 May 2023

Forty-nine Victorian firefighters and emergency services personnel will be deployed to Canada over the coming days to support the ongoing fire response.

Crews from Forest Fire Management Victoria and Country Fire Authority will form part of an Australian-New Zealand contingent of about 200 responders travelling to Alberta and British Columbia to fight wildfires alongside local crews.

Victorian crews will depart Melbourne between Thursday and Sunday for a brief stopover in either Sydney or Brisbane to join their counterparts from around the nation, before travelling to Canada to begin their month-long deployment.

Fires in Canada have been burning for several weeks across the two provinces, prompting a state of emergency to be issued for Alberta. Parks and recreation areas have been closed and communities have been evacuated to ensure the safety of those in high risk areas. This season, the fires have burnt more than two million hectares of land across Canada and resulted in about 20,000 people being evacuated.

Victoria will send one Incident Management Team and one fire crew, providing specialist personnel who are highly skilled and specially trained to support international firefighting efforts. 

Victoria has a strong and ongoing relationship with Canada, allowing for the exchange of personnel, skills and mutual support at these difficult times. In 2019-20, Canadian firefighters were deployed to Victoria to assist our firefighting response.

Acting Emergency Management Commissioner Amanda Leck said Victorian crews would provide much needed support to Canadian firefighters during this challenging time.

“Our goal is to support local crews helping to bring these wildfires under control as quickly as possible,” she said.

“We are fortunate to be able to share our emergency management expertise and specialist personnel with our international counterparts.”

FFMVic Chief Fire Officer Chris Hardman said the agency's specialist staff would be valuable to the firefighting effort.

“The international firefighting community is a strong one and when one country needs help, others will answer the call. Most recently, Canada was there for us in 2019-20 and we are privileged and proud to return the favour as they battle an unseasonably early fire season," he said.

“FFMVic is providing crews experienced in fighting fires in the type of challenging and remote terrain they’ll encounter in Canada, and other personnel who will provide experience in incident management and support for the use of aircraft and heavy firefighting equipment such as bulldozers."

Acting Country Fire Authority Chief Officer Garry Cook thanked those participating, and highlighted the expertise of Victorian crews.

“CFA crews have extensive experience with large wildfires, having handled fires on similar terrain across Australia,” he said.

“I want to thank all those being deployed for their dedication, time and commitment and wish Canada good luck with the continued firefight this season.”

Emergency Management Victoria is supporting the Victorian deployment in partnership with fire agencies, Australasian Fire Authorities Council and the National Resource Sharing Centre.


Media contact:
State Control Centre Media via or 1300 287 289