NEW SOUTH WALES (NEWS 1130) – Thirty Canadian firefighters are spending their holidays battling brutal bush fires in Australia.
The fresh team will be based in New South Wales for a 38-day deployment, where strong southerly winds fanned more than 100 fires alone Saturday, with one blaze scorching more than 460-thousand hectares.
It brings the total number of Canucks helping the fire-fight to 51, with an earlier team already in Australia.
Six staff from the BC Wildfire Service departed from Vancouver last night as part of this 2nd Canadian contingent to Australia. Safe travels, and good luck! #BCwildfire #AustraliaFires https://t.co/5Iscx7mX7f
— BC Wildfire Service (@BCGovFireInfo) December 20, 2019
New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian says some communities have been completely wiped out.
“It is devastating not knowing whether your property is standing or not. Unfortunately, we have received bad news; there is not much left in Balmoral.”
As of Sunday morning, two volunteer firefighters have already died fighting the large blazes.
Meantime, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has returned from vacation after a whack of criticism for his absence during the wildfire crisis.
Morrison acknowledged that climate change has contributed to the devastating fire season.
“Our government has always, and I have always acknowledged, the connection between these weather events and these broader fire events and the impacts globally of climate change climate change,” he said.
On Thursday, New South Wales declared a seven-day state of emergency as thousands of firefighters battled wildfires across the state.
Over 7-million acres of land have burnt throughout the country in the past few months.
Six people have died, and more than 800 homes have been destroyed.
The conditions have reignited the debate on whether Australia’s conservative government has taken enough action on climate change. Australia is the world’s largest exporter of coal and liquefied natural gas.
Outside Morrison’s Sydney residence Thursday, Australian protesters camped to demand action on climate change.
-With files from The Associated Press