EDMONTON -- Edmonton's fire chief is resigning to become a fire commissioner in Australia.

Ken Block accepted an offer to become the fire commissioner of Fire Rescue Victoria in Victoria, Australia.

"Congratulations to Ken Block on his new role as Commissioner of Fire Rescue Services, Victoria, Australia," said Rob Smyth, the deputy city manager for citizen services. "We thank Ken for his dedication and commitment at Edmonton Fire Rescue Services for the past 40 years."

Block joined Edmonton Fire Rescue Services in 1980 as a recruit firefighter and was appointed fire chief in February 2009.

His last day will be February 3.

EFRS is now searching for his replacement.

His move comes as Canada and other countries send firefighters to Australia to help combat devastating wildfires in New South Wales, northeast of the Victoria region.