Minister Creecy sends well wishes to Working on Fire team that will assist with Alberta Fires in Canada
24 June 2019
The Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, Ms Barbara Creecy, has wished the Working on Fire fire-fighters well in their trip to Alberta, Canada.
The Province of Alberta in western Canada is experiencing significant wildfires and has called for international assistance from key partners. The South African Department of Environment, Fisheries and Forestry has a Memorandum of Understanding with the Canadian Department of Natural Resources, in terms of which either country may request urgent support from the other with regards to wildfire management. The requesting country covers the costs of the deployment.
A 45 member team, with 40 Fire-fighters, 2 Strike-Team leaders, 2 senior managers and the Working on Fire Managing Director will be assisting with the Alberta fires for an expected period of 30 days.
“My very best wishes go with you on this important deployment. It is an honour to be asked to assist the Canadians in combatting their wildfires, and a tribute to the skills, discipline and fitness in the Working on Fire programme,” said Minister Creecy.
Minister Creecy urges the Fire-fighters not to take risks, saying, “My first message to you all is to be safe. Your training has provided you with the knowledge and insights to avoid dangerous situations. Please take no risks.”
Working on Fire is internationally renowned for its Integrated Fire Management services, which include creating fire awareness, proactively putting fire-preventative measures in place (such as prescribed burns and fuel-load reduction), veld and forest fire suppression, and rehabilitation of burnt areas.
This deployment is to assist the Canadian Government. But it also brings about great opportunities for South African youth employed by Working on Fire. Fire-fighters who have been previously deployed overseas to assist in fire management, have benefitted significantly from the experience.
Minister Creecy stressed that partnerships between Governments are extremely important, and urged the team to help to build on the relationship between the Canadian and South African integrated fire management capacities, to mutual benefit. “Finally, please remember that you are ambassadors for our country. Let every aspect of your behaviour be a credit to our country. Please be especially careful in anything you write on social media,” says Minister Creecy.
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