Monday, June 24, 2024

Mexico sends another contingent to help fight Canadian forest fires

Mexico sent a second team of firefighters to Canada on Wednesday to help combat the wildfires currently blazing through Canada’s forests.

The group of 100 firefighters and two technicians traveled from Guadalajara, Jalisco, via Vancouver to the Prince George area of British Columbia, a province in western Canada. They were sent in response to a request for international support from the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre (CIFFC).

Fires in Quebec in June 2023
Wildfires have been blazing from as far west as British Columbia to as far east as Quebec, which has prompted calls from Canadian authorities to seek help from firefighting forces around the world. (File photo/Canadian Forces)

“On instructions from President Andrés Manual López Obrador, who recognizes the complex situation that Canada is going through in the face of forest fires in that country, and building on a solid foundation of bilateral cooperation, Mexico responded positively to a new request,” the Foreign Affairs Ministry (SRE) said in a statement on Wednesday.

The statement stressed that the firefighters have “the experience, physical fitness and training required to stay in the field for the period that is necessary, adhering to international standards to execute the tasks of control and extinction of forest fires.”

This is the second contingent of Mexican firefighters sent to Canada this year. The first group of 200 traveled to Ontario, in eastern Canada, on June 19. They are currently deployed in the areas of Dryden and Sudbury, where they are installing water pumping systems, tracking hotspots, opening fire breaches and directly fighting the flames.

Mexico’s support for Canada is part of the Operational Plan for the Exchange of Resources for Forest Fire Management between Canadian and Mexican participants, ratified this year. It also adheres to commitments made in the Working Group on Forests of the Mexico-Canada Partnership and in the protocols for addressing the effects of climate change in the trilateral North American Leaders Summit.

Mexican firefighters in Vancouver INternational Airport
The contingent of 100 firefighters and two technicians waiting in Vancouver’s International Airport for transfer to Ontario pose with a First Nations totem bearing a Mexican flag. (Conafor)

Canada lost more than 3.8 million hectares of forest to wildfires between January and June, more than 15 times the average of the last 10 years.

Meanwhile, Mexico has been gripped by successive heat waves and historically low rainfall. It has also seen sporadic forest fires in areas such as Guadalajara, but nothing on the scale of the fires in Canada.

With reports from Latinus, Infobae and Reporte Indigo

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