A member of the Department of Fisheries and Land Resources wildfire suppression staff is on route to Australia to provide expertise and relief for Australian crews currently battling unprecedented wildfires in that country.
Fire Training Specialist and Provincial FireSmart Liaison, Joe Russell, departed the province on December 18 to join a contingent of 30 fire professionals from other Canadian jurisdictions. The team will be gathering in Vancouver before travelling to Australia. Mr. Russell will join a team made up of specialists from Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia and the Yukon.
He will be helping to support fire suppression efforts being conducted by Australian and international crews in his role as Logistics Section Chief for an Incident Management team during the 38 day deployment to New South Wales. The Canadian team will assist with a variety of duties including roles in command, aviation, planning, logistics and operations.
This is the second group of Canadian Fire Managers organized by the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre to respond to the Australian call for assistance. A group of 21 staff left Canada on December 3, for a 38 day deployment.
The deployments come at no expense to participating provinces as costs associated with salaries, airfare, accommodations and meals are covered through a negotiated agreement between the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre and Australian authorities.
“I wish to acknowledge the decision of Joe Russell to support his colleagues and the people of Australia during this devastating time, particularly during the Christmas holiday season. Sacrificing time with family and friends reflects on Mr. Russell’s dedication to his profession. I am confident his presence will demonstrate why Newfoundland and Labrador wild firefighters are becoming increasingly recognized on the national and international stage for their expertise and professionalism.”
Honourable Gerry Byrne
Minister of Fisheries and Land Resources
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Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre
Fisheries and Land Resources