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Conafor firefighters in a training session. Conafor firefighters in a training session.

Mexicans will help fight huge wildfire

100 firefighters leave this week for Canada to fight The Beast

One hundred Mexican firefighters are scheduled to leave today or tomorrow for Canada where they will join the fight against a major wildfire in northern Alberta.

Two brigades from the National Forest Commission (Conafor) and three from the state of Jalisco will be flown by Canadian authorities from Guadalajara to Edmonton before they are dispatched to fight The Beast, a 500,000-hectare fire that burned through 20% of the city of Fort McMurray and continues to burn.

More than 80,000 residents of the city were evacuated earlier this month. Today, the first of the evacuees are returning home, where they will find out what’s been left.

The fire destroyed 2,400 structures, nearly 20% of the city.

Mexico’s firefighters are expected to be sent to Fort McMurray, joining 300 of their counterparts who arrived this week from South Africa.

They have been trained under the same standards used by the United States and Canada, said Juan Ramón Cruz of Conafor. They have taken up to 23 different courses, two to seven years of study in the form of field work and participated in annual drills.

In Canada they will work for 14 days, take three off and work another 14 before returning home.

Source: Reforma (sp), NTR Guadalajara (sp), CTV News (en)

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