Canada is continuing its assistance to the United States in response to the wildfires ravaging the West Coast. On Sep. 18, the governments of Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia, as well as Parks Canada, sent 289 wildfire professionals to central Oregon to join the fight, following a previous detachment sent to California from Quebec. This deployment is just the latest example of the strong partnership and bilateral relationship between our two nations as outlined in the 1982 Reciprocal Forest Fire Fighting Arrangement.
“This year’s wildfires are unprecedented, and I want to express my sympathies for the loss of lives, property and ecosystems,” said Brandon Lee, Consul General of Canada in the Pacific Northwest. “I’m moved on a daily basis by the valiant efforts of fire-fighters and first responders, as well as the extraordinary acts of kindness by the people of this great state. Canada stands with Oregon in solidarity and common purpose, as good friends, reliable partners and steadfast allies always do.”
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.”
Bart Eberwein, Canada’s Honorary Consul in Portland, OR said, “As a citizen of Oregon and Honorary Consul of Canada in this great state, it does not surprise me that Canadians are here to help us in this time of need. The tradition of being there for each other is just one aspect of the solid friendship that unites Oregon and Canada.”
Despite the extraordinary support from all corners of the continent, the 2020 Western fire season has a long way to go. But knowing that they can always rely on one another, the U.S. and Canada will get through this challenge together.