25/05/2023 09:39 AM

The NSW State Emergency Service (NSW SES) is deploying a number of members to Canada this week, to join an international effort fighting some of the worst wildfires in the nation’s history.  

The wildfires have burned more than 1.7 million hectares, and more than 29,000 people have been displaced from their homes. 

NSW SES volunteers Andrew Fletcher and Tony Morris from Bathurst, and staff member Colleen Taylor from Wagga Wagga will be providing logistics and finance support to Canadian firefighters throughout the wildfire response.  

The team is part of a 200-strong Australian and New Zealand contingent, which includes emergency services personnel from the NSW Rural Fire Service, Fire and Rescue NSW, and the Forestry Corporation of NSW.  

The deployment comes three and a half years after Canadian firefighters came to Australia’s aid during the Black Summer fires of 2019/2020.  

Both Andrew Fletcher and Colleen Taylor worked with Canadian teams during Australia’s bushfire crisis, in Kempsey and Tumut.  

“I'm pretty pleased to have the opportunity to go and give them a hand,” finance expert Andrew Fletcher said.   

“I think it's marvelous the way the emergency management community around the world works together.”  

Finance and logistics officer Colleen Taylor also remembers her time working with Canadian firefighters in Tumut. 

“I did say to them when I was working with them, I’d like to return the favour one day,” Ms Taylor said.   

Minister for Emergency Services, Jihad Dib wished the members well. 

"We wish them all the strength and resolve to making a meaningful contribution to the people of Canada, before returning home to their families," Mr Dib said. 

It speaks volumes of the SES that even after an incredibly busy 18 months, they still put their hand up to support others in need. This is the Australian emergency service at its best.”

NSW SES Commissioner Carlene York APM said the deployment showed the skills developed by volunteers can be applied well beyond floods and storms.  

“I'm proud to see our volunteers and staff coming to the assistance of Canadian firefighters. This deployment shows our diverse capabilities can be applied to managing a range of natural hazards,” Commissioner York said.  

The deployment is expected to last five weeks.  

NSW SES volunteers Andrew Fletcher and Tony Morris from Dubbo are being deployed to Canada assist with the nation's wildfire response

NSW SES volunteers Andrew Fletcher and Tony Morris from Bathurst are being deployed to Canada assist with the nation's wildfire response.

NSW SES staff member Colleen Taylor, from Wagga Wagga, will provide logistics support to Canadian firefighters.

For emergency help in floods and storms, call the NSW SES on 132 500. In life threatening situations, call Triple Zero (000) immediately.

Media enquiries: NSW SES Media 1800 067 234 or media@ses.nsw.gov.au

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