Victorians to bring back new skills, knowledge from Canada

10 August 2017

Victorian emergency management personnel helping to manage fires burning across British Columbia are gaining a significant amount of experience to bring back to Victoria.

More than half way through their 42-day Canadian deployment, the first Victorian contingent are working across British Columbia to manage hundreds of out-of-control fires during the country’s peak fire season.

Emergency Management Commissioner Craig Lapsley said Victorian personnel were integrating well across agencies to bring the fires under control.

“Our people are witnessing some extreme conditions and significant fire behaviour,” he said.

“They are working in an environment where resources are stretched and traditional fire control strategies are having limited success.

“I’m told there has been many positive interactions with local communities and the efforts of all Australian personnel, both firefighters and those in supporting roles, are being consistently acknowledged by the community and British Columbian firefighters.”

The first Victorian contingent, which included Forest Fire Management Victoria and CFA members, was deployed on 18 July.

A second Victorian contingent of Forest Fire Management Victoria members deployed on 4 August.

Mr Lapsley said there would be lessons Victoria could learn as a result of the fire situation in British Columbia.

“Our people will be a key part of this, as they bring back unique experiences of working alongside emergency services personnel in other agencies and integrating practices.

“There would be many and varied experiences, and there will be some great stories each of them will bring home to their colleagues, family and friends.

“Our personnel across Canada are doing an outstanding job in supporting emergency services in British Columbia and helping to keep communities safe.”