Local Parks and Wildlife rangers back home after fighting Canadian bushfires

August 10, 2023 10:02 am in by

Five Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service rangers, including one from Gympie, have returned home after spending a month in Canada fighting wildfires raging across Alberta.

The arduous firefighters are the first rangers in Queensland’s history to support an international disaster response, taking their unique bushfire management skills to where they’ve been needed most on a global level.

Ranger Darrell Bell from Gympie was part of the group which spent the past month battling fires near the remote community of High Level in northwest Alberta, about 760 kilometres north of Jasper.

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Ranger Darrell Bell before his deployment to the Canadian bushfires

Facing cold weather, rain and fire, rangers worked with heavy machinery and chainsaws to clear much-needed fire breaks and access tracks from vegetation that could stop emergency vehicles.

Rangers also worked on the fire-line fighting the blaze with hoses and water from local water points to suppress the flames and manage hot spots.

They also conducted backburns to manage fuel loads and prevent out-of-control fire from spreading further.

Ranger Darrell Bell in Canada (left of pic in yellow shirt)
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QPWS rangers and Queensland Fire and Emergency Services personnel worked alongside firefighters from across Australia and New Zealand, as well as crews from Canada, the USA, South Africa, France, Spain, South Korea, Mexico, Costa Rica, Chile and Brazil.

Following this first deployment, QPWS is now in a position to deploy rangers for future international wildfire operations on a case-by-case basis.

Ranger Bell has now returned to his duties in Gympie and is on standby for the local bushfire season.


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