EDMONTON — Dozens of firefighters have arrived in Edmonton from Mexico to help battle wildfires in northern Alberta.
Sixty-two firefighters arrived at Edmonton International Airport from from Jalisco, Mexico Wednesday evening. After being briefed on the current wildfire situation, they will head up to help the 1,700 firefighers who have been working tirelessly for weeks to douse the blazes.
“The guys are good to go,” said firefighter Hector Trejo. “Our season just ended a couple weeks ago so we’re happy to help up here.
“Most of the guys, this is their passion—fight fires, get to know the forest—and what better way to do it than come to another country and help others.”
Fire crews from Jalisco have been helping battle fires in Alberta for the past 10 years; they’ve been called in to assist several times.
“We’ve been working with them on training and a number of different things,” said Geoffrey Driscoll, a wildfire information officer with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. “What we did was we have brought their training standards up to our own, so that’s why we can have these firefighters here.”
As of Thursday morning, there were 95 wildfires burning in Alberta, 30 of which were listed as out of control.
“The fire season in Alberta has been particularly busy. We’ll take the help that we can get,” said Driscoll. “Every little bit helps and we’re certainly happy that our partners in Jalisco were able to give us some firefighters.”
“But they’ve got a big job ahead of them.”
While conditions have improved over the past few days, on the weekend there were upwards of 120 wildfires burning in Alberta, Driscoll says cooler temperatures and rain would be welcomed by fire crews.
“The situation is starting to look up; however, there is still a lot of work to be done, probably weeks or months,” said Driscoll.
Trejo says his crews are ready for the challenge and eager to get to work.
“It’s exciting. The guys know they’re coming to fight fires, they’re anxious to do it and they like coming up here. It’s a good feeling for them.”
The wildfire season in Jalisco ended in late June.
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For the latest wildfire status in Alberta, visit the Government of Alberta’s website.
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