South African firefighters arrive in Edmonton to help battle Fort McMurray blaze
More than 300 South African firefighters arrived in Edmonton on Sunday night, joining efforts to extinguish wildfires across the province.
The arrival of the group from Western Cape was certainly one to remember. After landing at the Edmonton International Airport, the men and women were greeted by people offering cheers, handshakes and words of thanks. The firefighters then broke out in song and dance.
The Boeing 777 arrival was a rare site for the EIA. Officials said a plane of that size is not often seen in Edmonton.
The group joins 2,300 others who continue to battle wildfires in Alberta. Out of the 14 currently burning across the province, only the Fort McMurray fire remains out of control.
Aid is also being provided by 90 helicopters, 273 pieces of heavy equipment and 20 air tankers.
The wildfire currently covers nearly 580,000 hectares, including parts of Saskatchewan.
Voluntary re-entry of wildfire evacuees begins on Wednesday, June 1.