Jul 2023 1st edition

South African firefighters tackle wild fires internationally

The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment’s Working on Fire (WoF) programme has deployed a second contingent of 200 firefighters and 13 managers – Mzanzi Hotshots 2 - to assist in ongoing fire suppression operations in the Canadian Province of Alberta.

This follows the deployment of 200 firefighters and 15 managers - on 3 June 2023, this group will return on 11 July.

The second group of firefighters left for Edmonton, Canada, on 14 June 2023 from Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport and are expected to return on 21 July.

The deployment of both teams comes in response to an urgent request from the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre (CIFFC) in terms of the existing Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Canada and South Africa.

Alberta has already experienced more than 550 wildfires this season resulting in significant damage to property and infrastructure and displacing thousands of people. Evacuation orders have been put in place in many areas.

Signed in 2019, the MOU provides for the exchange of wildland fire management resources between South Africa and Canada.  It was put in place following two earlier deployments to Canada to suppress wildfires in Alberta and Manitoba.

The 2023 deployment is the fifth collaboration between South Africa and Canada in terms of the exchange of personnel. The 2023 Canadian deployment teams comprise highly qualified firefighters, with a minimum of three years of firefighting experience experienced, and are trained in Canadian pump operation techniques. The teams also include members with previous international firefighting experience, which enhances their expertise in tackling complex fire situations.

 “We are proud of the fact that South Africa is again able to assist Canadian firefighting teams in their battle to bring the wildfires under control.  The extensive experience and training of these firefighters will significantly enhance efforts to effectively suppress and manage the wildfires in Alberta,” said Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment Barbara Creecy.

WoF takes great pride in mobilising such qualified and diverse teams to bolster Canada's firefighting efforts. The extensive experience and training of these firefighters will significantly contribute to the effective suppression and management of wildfires in Alberta, ultimately helping to protect lives, properties, and the environment. 

This information was supplied by the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment.

For more information about Working on Fire visit www.workingonfire.org.

Did you know? Working on Fire is an Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) aimed at providing work opportunities to young men and women.

Life changing opportunity for young men

The Western Cape Department of Police Oversight and Community Safety is encouraging young men between the ages of 18 – 25 to submit their application for the January 2024 intake of the Chrysalis Academy’s 23 CHARLIE males course.

The Chrysalis Academy is an initiative of the Western Cape Government and the academy has seen more than 10 000 graduates, since 2000.

Students who are part of the course receive training in first aid, basic cookery, security training, peace officer, welding, office administration and electrical work.

The programme also includes a personal growth course, emotional intelligence, leadership, diversity, drilling and fitness training. Young men will also be taught about healthy living, environmental awareness and conflict management with the aim of developing important life skills.

Upon completion of the course, graduates are also offered a 12-month employment opportunity through our Expanded Public Works Programme and placed in various entities.

How to apply?

Applications for the 23 CHARLIE males course opened on 1 June 2023 and will close on 31 July 2023.

The criteria for the course is as follows:

  1. Applicants must be male between 18-25 years old.
  2. Have passed at least grade 9/standard 7 in a mainstream school.
  3. Not be in employment education or training.
  4. Have no criminal record.
  5. A resident of the Western Cape.

Interested parties should visit www.chrysalisacademy.org.za to obtain application forms. Once completed, all application forms and supporting documents should be sent to applications@chrysalisacademy.org.za on or before the closing date. Further information can also be obtained by dialling 021 712 1023.

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