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Saskatchewan sends 2 firefighters to help with eastern Australia fires

Firefighters work to contain a fire near Stanford Merthyr, west of Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia, Dec. 3, 2019.
Firefighters work to contain a fire near Stanford Merthyr, west of Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia, Dec. 3, 2019. Darren Pateman / The Canadian Press

Saskatchewan is lending a hand to help fight fires spreading through Australia’s east coast.

Canada sent 21 firefighters to New South Wales on Monday to fill operational, planning and aviation roles — two who are from Saskatchewan.

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“Saskatchewan is proud to be part of the Canadian contingent that is being sent to support Australia during this devastating fire season,” said Marlo Pritchard, Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency president.

It’s been a severe and early fire season in eastern Australia, leading to fatalities and property loss.

A fire spreads in a bushland near Kioloa, New South Wales, Australia, Dec. 3, 2019.
A fire spreads in a bushland near Kioloa, New South Wales, Australia, Dec. 3, 2019. Dean Lewins / The Canadian Press

Large areas of New South Wales and Queensland have also been destroyed from fire.

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Canadian firefighters are being deployed to Australia for the first time under the Exchange of Wildland Fire Management Resources agreement.

Firefighters drive through corridor of flames on New South Wales coast
Firefighters drive through corridor of flames on New South Wales coast

Since 2015, Canada has called on Australian firefighters four times.

The province is part of the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre (CIFFC) team, offering their services at the request of other jurisdictions who need their resources.