Inspector Tim Hassiotis, from Cronulla, in specialist team sent to Canada to assist in wildfires battle

Cronulla firefighter, Inspector Tim Hassiotis. Picture: supplied

Cronulla firefighter, Inspector Tim Hassiotis. Picture: supplied

A Cronulla firefighter is a member of an expert team, which has travelled to Canada to help combat wildfires, which are being likened to the 2019-20 bushfires in NSW.

Inspector Tim Hassiotis, who works in Fire and Rescue NSW headquarters, is among 38 specialists from NSW firefighting and emergency services, who with colleagues from Western Australia make up a 55-person contingent.

"Much of Western Canada has been experiencing hot and dry weather with large fires currently burning in British Colombia and Ontario," Inspector Hassiotis said after arriving in Canada on a charter flight last week.

"Canadian firefighting specialists travelled to NSW during the 2019-2020 bushfire season to assist our efforts, and this is a fantastic way to repay the favour.

"I am extremely proud to represent FRNSW and Australia."

Twenty-two of the NSW group are from the Rural Fire Service, 10 from Fire and Rescue NSW and three from the State Emergency Service.

The contingent includes incident management teams, divisional and sector commanders, fire behaviour analysts and aviation specialists.

The Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council's national resource sharing centre is facilitating the deployment of Australian and New Zealand personnel and resources following a formal request for assistance made by Canadian and US fire authorities.

The contingent is expected to remain in Canada for up to five weeks.

They are subject to appropriate COVID safety measures, including pre-travel testing and will have to quarantine for 14 days on their return to Australia.

NSW Rural Fire Service's 737 large air tanker Marie Bashir also left last week for a 45-deployment to the US following requests for assistance.

FRNSW Commissioner Paul Baxter said the firefighters were continuing a 20 plus years' tradition of providing support to colleagues abroad.

The group would provide much-needed support for fatigued Canadian crews battling hundreds of fires, he said.

"The international support provided to us during the 2019/20 Bushfire season was invaluable and we are repaying that to our Canadian friends in their time of need," Commissioner Baxter said.

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