One hundred and eight Mexican fire fighters are preparing to travel to Alberta, Canada to assist in the fight against ‘The Beast,’ a 500,000-hectare fire in Fort McMurray, which has been burning out of control for more than a month, and is the largest ever recorded in the history of Alberta.
Fifty-nine of the Mexican fire fighters are from Jalisco and the remaining forty-nine hail from Baja California, Sonora, Durango, Michoacan, Mexico City and Oaxaca, according to Juan Ramon Cruz of the National Forestry Commission.
He explained that the Mexican fire fighters are now gathering at the National Center for Forest Fires Control (Conafor) in Zapopan, Jalisco. In the coming days, they will travel to Guadalajara, and from there to Edmonton, the capital of Alberta.
An Alberta wildfire information officer said fire fighters from Alberta and Mexico have had a partnership for the past eleven years. In exchange for helping fight fires in Canada, Mexico’s bomberos are given additional training. The government of Alberta pays the bomberos’ travel and housing costs in addition to the salaries they are paid when called upon to assist.
“Our Bomberos are ready to join the fight. They have been trained under the same standards as the US Forest Service, which are the same in Canada, so they ‘speak the same language’ as their Canadian counterparts,” said Cruz. “Over the years they have taken up to 23 different study and field work courses, and have participated in annual drills,” he added.
In Fort McMurray, the Mexican brigade will fight ‘The Beast’ for 14 days, take a three-day break, then work another 14 before returning home.
The Beast has already burned through 20% of the city and continues to burn.
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