Ballarat firefighters to battle Canadian blazes

A GROUP of Ballarat firefighters and fire agency experts will battle fires in Canada this month. 

Department of Environment and Primary Industries midlands district manager Jon Rofe will use his skills to provide advice to frontline firefighters battling blazes in British Columbia. 

It is the first time he will  help fight fires overseas on deployment.

“It is going to be a great opportunity, but there is always that thought of stepping into the unknown,” Mr Rofe said. “I have talked to a number of people who have been deployed to fight fires overseas.”

Mr Rofe found out this week he would be joining 50 other Victorians firefighters and fire agency experts overseas for about five weeks, leaving on Saturday.

The deployment follows a request from Canadian authorities for international assistance. 

Mr Rofe will be a part of an incident management team alongside fire behaviour specialists, aircraft coordinators and a small number of strike team leaders.

“We will be undertaking divisional command roles,” he said. 

The Canadian Wildfire Management Branch has responded to almost 1000 bushfires this season. 

DEPI, Parks Victoria, Melbourne Water and CFA members will be joined overseas by firefighters from New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australian, ACT and South Australia.

Victorian firefighters were last deployed to British Columbia in 2009. British Columbia staff have been to Victoria in 2006-07 and 2009.

Brad Jew, Glen Rudolph, Jill Read, Mike Forsyth and Mark Urquhart are just some of the Ballarat and surrounding district personnel travelling to British Columbia.

kara.irving@fairfaxmedia.com.au

DEPI midlands district manager Jon Rofe will travel to Canada to fight fires

DEPI midlands district manager Jon Rofe will travel to Canada to fight fires

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