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Source: Fire and Emergency New Zealand

Fire and Emergency has welcomed back its first group of deployed firefighters who have been supporting the firefighting in Alberta, Canada for the last month.
The 25-strong contingent left New Zealand on 24 May to help fight what has become the worst wildfire season on record for Alberta.
The crews of firefighters spent most of their time focusing on securing the active fire edge in Slave Lake to help protect the settlements of Swan Hills, East Prairie, Banana Belt and High Prairie.
Their firefighting is called ‘arduous’ and it is tough physical work. They have been running pumps, digging out hotspots, cutting fallen branches, clearing access tracks and escape routes, mopping up, and all the other jobs associated with a collection of fires totalling more than 200,000 hectares.
Fire and Emergency Deputy National Commander Steph Rotarangi has thanked the firefighters for their efforts in trying conditions.
“This was not easy work, and it is a long time to be away from home,” she says.
“To their families and friends back at home, thank you.”
The contingent will now undertake a standdown period to ensure they’re sufficiently rested and recovered following their deployment.
The first group was relieved by a third deployment over the weekend, while a second deployment remains in Alberta, having left New Zealand on 7 June. In total, 45 Fire and Emergency personnel remain in Canada.
Steph Rotarangi says the situation in Canada remains serious, with the National Preparedness Level remaining at 5 – Extreme.
“We’re continuing to support Canada by deploying our people to assist and await any further request for assistance from the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre (CIFFC).”
As of June 28, there are 487 active wildfires in Alberta, with 259 out of control, 71 being held and 157 under control.