Bungonia firefighter helping with Canadian fires

NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) Senior Field Officer Paul Madsen flew to Canada last week to help with the escalating wildfire emergency in British Columbia.

Aerial view forest fire front plumes of smoke Macleay

Bungonia-based Paul left Sydney as part of a team 34 NPWS specialist firefighting crew being sent to join the international firefighting operation.

NPWS South Coast Branch Director Kane Weeks said Paul’s years of firefighting experience will be an asset to the Canadian authorities and those working alongside him in British Columbia.

“While on his 40-day tour, Paul will take up the role of Divisional Commander, leading a team as part of coordinated efforts to tackle the out of control blazes,” Mr Weeks said.

“The days will be long and hard and we are very proud that Paul is there representing the Service and the local community.

“We want Paul to stay safe while undertaking this challenging work and look forward to welcoming him home,” Mr Weeks said.

The NPWS firefighters are deployed under the NSW cooperative firefighting arrangements, with NSW Rural Fire Service, Fire and Rescue NSW and the Forestry Corporation of NSW.

British Columbia’s arrangement with Australia in sharing firefighting resources has been in place for over 15 years.

This agreement allows for the exchange of personnel, knowledge, skills, equipment, technology and mutual support in the event of an emergency.

NSW RFS is coordinating the deployment of up to 129 firefighters to Canada on behalf of NSW and the ACT. 

Photos for media: Flickr: NPWS Canada deployment