First Sask. firefighters helping with fires in Australia return home
A pair of Saskatchewan firefighters returned to Saskatoon Thursday night after just over a month of helping battle devastating wildfires in Australia. Phane Ray and Kevin Buettner, both Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency wildland firefighters, were deployed at the start of December to help combat the Australian wildfires as part of a Canadian team organized by the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre. And even though they weren’t directly on the front lines of the blaze, their experience has certainly stuck with them. “The hardest thing for us that we’d seen there is just the amount of people losing homes, the loss of life,” Ray said.
MORE than 180 Australians have been arrested for arson as ferocious bushfires leave 26 dead and destroy over 1,500 homes . We told today how the young daughter of a firefighter killed battling the Australia fires wore her father's helmet on her head as she refused to leave his coffin’s side.
Wildlife in Australia was already under threat before these fires , as humans have changed the landscape. On Kangaroo Island, off the coast of South Australia , experts said thousands of kangaroos and koalas had been killed in the fire that has now ravaged a third of the island.
WINNIPEG — Some of the first Canadian wildfire experts to help out in Australia are back home.
Gerry Rosset and Andrew Prokopchuk, two Manitoba conservation officers, landed at the Winnipeg airport after more than five weeks of working in fire control centres Down Under.
Rosset says the fires in Australia are unlike anything he has seen in his 38 years on the job.
Prokopchuk says one fire had a perimeter of 1,000 square kilometres, and he remembers the sky being very dark, even far from the blazes.
Prokopchuk says Australians were very happy to see assistance from other countries, and many wanted to hug the Canadian helpers.
Nearly 100 Canadian fire experts have been sent to Australia to help battle one of the worst wildfire seasons the country has ever seen.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 9, 2020
The Canadian Press
Grey Cup rescued from burning Kenora, Ont., hotel Friday afternoon, fire chief says .
A fire that threatened an 11-storey Kenora, Ont., hotel Friday afternoon nearly took another victim as it spread across the bottom of the building: the Grey Cup. City of Kenora fire Chief Todd Skene said crews didn't realize until after the blaze at the Clarion Lakeside Inn was under control that the Canadian Football League championship trophy was on the premises."We don't find out about that stuff until a little bit later. We're busy dealing with the scene and everything else that's going on at the time," he said.