Local firefighter helping to contain Canadian firestorm

TODAY will be Matt Inwood's first day on the job trying to help extinguish wildfires that have ravaged Canada and left thousands homeless.

The Far North Coast Rural Fire Service RFS Inspector was one of 31 emergency service workers from around the state who flew out from Sydney on Monday.

Fore more than two weeks, hundreds of fires have burned out more than 1.3 million hectares and forced more than 15,000 people from their homes in Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia.

Matt Inwood, right, pictured in 2012 with Division Commander Forests NSW David Blair at the Candole State Forest.
Matt Inwood, right, pictured in 2012 with Division Commander Forests NSW David Blair at the Candole State Forest. Adam Hourigan

Yesterday there were still 455 uncontained fires, with Canadian resources stretched to the limit.

The desperate situation has seen the Canadian government call on assistance from Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa, France, USA and Australia.

Rural Fire Service Far North Coast Superintendent David Cook said Insp Inwood was the only member selected to go to Canada from both the Far North Coast and Northern Rivers zones.

"Matt flew out on Monday from Sydney with a team of 13 RFS members, 11 National Parks and Wildlife staff, four NSW Forestry Corporation staff and three Fire and Rescue NSW fire fighters," he said.

Supt Cook said Insp Inwood will work two fourteen-day shifts, with two days off in between.

"Matt is part of an incident management team that will be deployed to the city of Edmonton, in Alberta" he said.

"They will be away for a total of five weeks."

Insp Inwood was chosen due to his extensive experience in fire management and control.

"Matt has got excellent demonstrated experience in incident management control and planning," Supt Cook said.

"He will be making operational plans to combat the fires and putting the plans in place using aircraft and fire fighters on the ground."

NSW RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said all members of the contingent were experts in their field and will start work straight away.

"Everything from front line fire fighting specialists, to field supervisor and command, into incident management teams," he said.

A total of 106 emergency services workers from across Australia have been deployed to Canada.



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