South African Firefighters head to Canada to battle wildfires

South African Firefighters head to Canada to battle wildfires

More than 300 firefighters from the United States and South Africa are heading to Canada in the coming days as the country battles an unprecedented wildfire season.

Federal officials say at least 100 U.S. firefighters will be arriving in Nova Scotia over the weekend to help knock down out-of-control wildfires that have forced about 21,000 people from their homes since Sunday.

Fire has swept through the nation, destroying acres of land occupied by cabins and wildlife preserves. The huge Barrington Lake fire in Nova Scotia’s southwest is now considered the province’s largest wildfire on record. Burning more than 200 square kilometres (more than 75 sq miles) in Shelburne county, the blaze continues to withstand round after round of water bombers and air tankers dropping water and fire retardant from the cloudy skies.

Nova Scotia hopes that rain forecasted in the coming weeks will quell the wildfires, which are now recognized as the largest and most destructive in the history of the region. The rain forecasted however comes with its own set of warnings, and potential flooding may extend the time before individuals are able to return home.

Another 200 firefighters arriving from South Africa will likely end up in Alberta, though officials say the wildfire situation in the country is fluid.

Members of South Africa will bring a large amount of fire prevention and wildfire repelling equipment as to assist local firefighting forces, saving lives whilst empowering the relationship between the two countries in the process.