WOF contingent deployed to Canada

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GK CRONJE

17 August 2021

The request for assistance came from the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre (CIFFC), which has, in terms of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Canada and South Africa, asked for firefighting assistance from the Working on Fire Programme (WOF) to assist with their fire management in Canada.

Suzuki Ermelo (WEB) 22 September 2020.jp

The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment Working on Fire Programme deployed 109 firefighters and management to the province of Manitoba, in Canada, to assist with firefighting efforts on Tuesday evening, 10 August 2021. This is the Programme’s fourth deployment of firefighters to Canada. Working on Fire Mpumalanga proudly boasts with seven representatives in the WOF contingent. Led by Walter Khoza, Ground Operations Manager, Highveld region, the firefighting delegation consists of Sibusiso Ngobeni, Type 1 Crewleader of the Mlambongwane team, Sphilile Khumalo, a female firefighter from the Piet Retief team, Bongani Sifunda from the Barberton team, Siphesihle Makhubu from the Wakkerstroom team, and Sipho Mlotshwa from the Badplaas team. Prior to their departure, the firefighters and management underwent refresher training in Stone Ridge, Hekpoort, in Gauteng to ensure that they are fit and ready for the conditions expected in Canada.

Canada has been experiencing record-breaking heat that is associated with dry weather. Large wildland fires are currently burning in the province of Manitoba, and extreme fire danger exists across the western provinces. The request for assistance came from the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre (CIFFC), which has, in terms of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Canada and South Africa, asked for firefighting assistance from the Working on Fire Programme (WOF) to assist with their fire management in Canada. The MOU provides for the exchange of Wildland Fire Management Resources between the two countries. The Working on Fire Programme is an Expanded Public Works Programme funded by the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment. It recruits young men and women from disadvantaged communities, and equips them with specialized veld and forestry firefighting skills.