California is facing historic wildfires in 2020, with more than 1.83 million acres burned so far across the state. Facing this crisis in parallel to the challenges of the COVID19 pandemic, California Governor Gavin Newsom called for international assistance to battle the devastating fires. Canada was ready to assist, thanks to an agreement between Canada and the U.S. that enables mutual aid and information sharing on wildfires in North America. At home and abroad, through agreements like the 1982 Reciprocal Forest Fire Fighting Arrangement, Canada and the U.S. work together to make our citizens’ lives safer and more prosperous.
On September 3, more than 60 firefighters on loan from the Government of Quebec arrived in California to provide much needed support. The fire crews were deployed to the Plumas National Forest in northeastern California to work alongside personnel from the U.S. Forest Service. This assistance complements the aid provided by two CL-415 “super scooper” water bombers from the Government of Quebec, on loan to Los Angeles County. For twenty-seven years, the super scoopers and their crews have helped to battle wildfires across Southern California.
“Canada offers its sympathies to the people of California for the lives, structures, and ecosystems that have been lost in this year’s devastating wildfires,” said Rana Sarkar, Consul General of Canada in San Francisco. “We are proud that Canadians are helping to fight those fires.”
Canada’s Ambassador to the United States, Kirsten Hillman, noted that the assistance is characteristic of the broader relationship between Canada and the U.S: “Neighbours helping neighbours in a time of need is truly what being friends, partners and allies is about.”
In a call with Governor Newsom, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau offered his condolences for the loss of life and devastation resulting from the wildfires throughout the state of California. The Governor expressed his gratitude for the partnership with the Canadian government and the people of Canada as the state battles the historic fires and tackles the challenges of climate change head on.
For over 150 years, Canada has had no closer friend and ally than the United States. As Canada’s assistance to battle the California wildfires demonstrates, we remain steadfast allies, working together to protect our homelands and our shared continent.
#FirefightingResources: Wildland firefighting hand crews arrived from Quebec, Canada yesterday at the National Interagency Fire Center. They’re headed to the #NorthComplexFire on the @USFSPlumas. #FireYear2020 📷Neal Herbert/DOI pic.twitter.com/JfRDRxKjZy
— National Interagency Fire Center (@NIFC_Fire) September 3, 2020