More than 100 Mexican firefighters deployed to help battle wildfires in Ontario
By Nairah Ahmed, The Canadian PressHeadlines News Wildfires Emergency & disaster management Canada wildfire season Canada wildfires firefighters Ontario wildfires wildfires
June 20, 2023, Ontario – More than 100 Mexican firefighters arrived in Ontario on Monday, the first round of international support to help battle the raging wildfires in the province this season.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry says the firefighters arrived in Thunder Bay, with 52 wildland fires continuing to burn around the province – 19 of which are not yet under control.
The international support comes as 1,910 firefighters have been deployed across Canada this season, as part of the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre (CIFFC) and its resource-sharing agreements with the United States, Australia, Mexico, New Zealand and Costa Rica.
The agreement allows a province or country seeing increased fire activity to make a request to CIFFC for equipment to fight fires at the ground level, aircraft assistance, incident management teams, or for fire personnel.
Due to the extraordinary wildfire circumstances in Canada this year, CIFFC Communications Manager Jennifer Kamau said more international help is needed.
“Canada has gone beyond its established framework of international partnerships and sought assistance from a wider range of countries to ensure the affected regions receive the resources they need to combat the wildland fires,” Kamau wrote in an email to The Canadian Press.
As of June 20, CIFFC reported a total of 316Spanish, Portuguese and French firefighters battling wildfires in Quebec. Another 738 firefighters are in Alberta from Australia, New Zealand, Costa Rica, Chile and South Africa. Another286 firefighters from the United States were deployed to those two provinces as well.
In Ontario, the ministry says the 103 Mexican firefighters are waiting on a provincial briefing before being assigned to fires in the northwest and northeast regions of the province.
Urging residents to exercise caution when travelling in forested areas, the ministry said the fire hazard is set to remain in the high to extreme range for the week.
Ministry spokespersonIsabelle Chenard said an above average number of fires and hectares burned in the province compared to the previous10-year average. To date, there have been 279 confirmed wildland fires in Ontario this season that burned 120,230 hectares, compared to 87 fires and 2,383 hectares burned in 2022.
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