Canadian firefighters will spend the holidays battling Australian wildfires
Canadian firefighters are foregoing spending the holidays with their families — instead heading to Australia to help battle the ongoing deadly bushfires burning through the country.
A group of 21 wildfire suppression experts Vancouver for Australia this week and aren't expected to return until January, which means the group will be spending the holidays on the other side of the world, CNN reported.
"The Australian government has reached out to the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre for assistance, and British Columbia will deploy some of our highly trained wildfire services staff," Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, said in a statement.
As of Thursday, there were 110 fires burning, 63 of which were not contained at the time, New South Wales Rural Fire Service reported.
Seven of the Canadian experts are from British Columbia's Wildfire Service. Others are from fire managements teams in Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Saskatchewan and Canada's national parks service, Parks Canada, CNN reported.
Australia currently has about 1,100 firefighters working on its wildfires, according to Donaldson. The Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre said on Twitter they are prepared to respond with more assistance if needed.
"Our thoughts remain focused on our colleagues and the citizens of Australia as they continue to manage through this difficult time," the centre said.
This isn't the first time Canada and Australia have helped each other in times of need.
"Canada has called on Australian firefighters four times since 2015, and we are proud to now provide support to them during this devastating fire season," Canada's Alberta Wildfire wrote on Twitter.