Canada will consider more aid for Australia as bush fires burn across country
A firefighters backs away from the flames after lighting a controlled burn near Tomerong, Australia, Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020, in an effort to contain a larger fire nearby. Around 2,300 firefighters in New South Wales state were making the most of relatively benign conditions by frantically consolidating containment lines around more than 110 blazes and patrolling for lightning strikes, state Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
OTTAWA -- Nearly 100 Canadian fire experts have been sent to Australia to help battle one of the worst wildfire seasons the country has ever seen.
Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne says Canada has offered to help Australia further if they ask for it - including by providing financial support - but a spokesman from his office says all Australia has requested so far is more people.
The Australian national council for fire and emergencies says 97 Canadians have deployed to Australia to help this season.
Most of the Canadians are there to help with aviation, logistics and prevention, while Australia relies heavily on local volunteer firefighters to battle the blazes.
One group of Canadians arrived to cheers and applause as they pushed through the doors into the airport arrivals area in Sydney on Jan. 6.
Widespread drought and multiple heat waves are creating perfect conditions for fires, which have scorched millions of hectares of bushland since October.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 8, 2020.