Twenty Quebec wildland firefighters deployed in California

By Jordan Dionne, Special to The Record

California is burning at a rate that is unprecedented and which has not been seen in decades. Since the start of 2020, there have been nearly 7,900 wildfires that have burned over 3.3 million acres in California. Since Aug. 15, when California’s fire activity reached record levels, there have been 25 fatalities and over 4,200 structures destroyed. Luckily, over 300 Canadian firefighters have been on the ground in Oregon and California with a new deployment of 20 wildland firefighters from the Forest Fire Protection Society (SOPFEU) in collaboration with the Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks (MFFP).
The second contingent of firefighters arrived in the United States on Sept. 17. All the health protocols put in place by the US Forest Service due to the pandemic have been validated by SOPFEU.
Quebec firefighters will travel to northern California to fight active fires in the Plumas National Forest, where they will take over for the sixty SOPFEU firefighters coming back to Canada today, after a 14-day cycle of consecutive work.
A message from the Prime Minister’s Office says Governor Newsom of California thanked Justin Trudeau for the help when the pair spoke by phone Thursday. In what is considered to be one of the worst wildfire seasons in California’s history, they discussed the role of climate change in the consistent trend of historic fires.
Current favourable meteorological conditions and the downward trend in the occurrence of fires in Quebec allow for our resources to be used to support our American neighbours.
Quebec is coming to the aid of the United States as a member of the arrangement between Canada and the United States which provides a mutual fund and assistance against forest fires. The government of Quebec, the forest industry, the large landowners and managers of forest lands, the members of SOPFEU, fully support these cooperative efforts.

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