A 25-member team from the Working on Fire (WoF) programme will return home from Canda after helping firefighters in the North America country put out wildfires in the Alberta province. Picture: Supplied/WoF

Johannesburg - South Africa's Working on Fire (WoF) firefighters will on Tuesday return home from Canada after helping extinguish wildfires that engulfed over 340 000 hectares of land in the North American country.

The 45-member team spent nearly a month in the Alberta province in western Canada along with firefighters from other countries, the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries said.

"The WoF firefighters formed part of teams of fire fighters from all over Alberta, Saskatchewan, British Colombia, New Brunswick, Ontario, Manitoba, Yukon, North West Territories, Mexico and USA combating the fire which started on the 12th May 2019," the department said.

"The department has a memorandum of understanding with the Canadian Department of Natural Resources, in terms of which either country may request urgent support from the other with regards to wildfire management. The deployment of the WoF fire-fighters at the province of Alberta further deepens the relations between Canada and South Africa on integrated fire management capacities."

The raging forest fires in Alberta that led to home evacuations have reportedly burned several farm fields causing major losses of agricultural crops.

WoF was launched by government in September 2003 and employs more than 5 000 young men and women, who have been fully trained as wildfire firefighters and are stationed in more than 200 bases across the country.

African News Agency (ANA)