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A group of B.C. firefighters is heading to Australia to help with wildfires that have killed at least 181 people and left about 5,000 homeless.
Two of B.C.'s senior fire managers spent last week in Australia working with officials to figure out how B.C. firefighters could help battle the deadly wildfires still sweeping the southeast part of the country.
Nine B.C. firefighters will head to Australia on Tuesday. More than 400 fires have ripped through that country's Victoria state, scorching some 285,000 hectares.
"They've requested some operations chiefs, some planning chiefs and some fire behavioural specialists, so these are people who have a specialization in the characteristics of fires," said B.C. fire information officer Kim Steinbart.
This is the second time B.C. fire crews have been called to Australia. In 2007, the province sent 52 firefighters, dubbed the "Canadian hotshots" by Australian media, to battle a series of brushfires raging there.
Despite the many differences between the two locations, Steinbart said the firefighting tactics and organizational structures are virtually the same.
"We do see quite a bit of difference between fuel types and terrain between the two locations, but some of our firefighters and specialists have been there before and experienced what fire is like in Australia," Steinbart said.
The B.C. team is expected to stay in Australia for at least four weeks.
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