The 151-member Korean Disaster Relief Team dispatched to help fight wildfires in Canada on July 2 pose for a group photo upon arrival at Ottawa International Airport. (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
The Korea Disaster Relief Team (KDRT) has arrived in Canada to combat wildfires there.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Seoul on July 3 said the team arrived in Ottawa the previous day and headed to the town of Maniwaki, Quebec, to receive preliminary training prior to its mission.
The team's 151 members comprise five from the ministry, 70 each from the Korea Forest Service and National Fire Agency, three from the Korea International Cooperation Agency and three medical personnel.
After training ends on July 4, the team will go to the city of Lebel-sur-Quevillon, Quebec, to fight wildfires for 30 days. Located approximately 510 km north of the Canadian capital, the city is one of the worst-hit areas in the province.
Prior to deployment, KDRT chief Kweon Ki-hwan held a ceremony in Maniwaki with Eric Rousseau, director-general of the Quebec forest protection agency SOPFEU, to conclude a wildfire fighting agreement between Seoul and the province.
"The dispatch of overseas emergency relief teams and conclusion of an agreement on cooperation in extinguishing forest fires have laid the foundation for expanded bilateral collaboration in responding to the growing number of disasters caused by climate change," Kweon said.
Erupting in May, the wildfires are still raging primarily in Quebec, which is adjacent to the Atlantic Ocean. The ministry on June 29 decided to dispatch the KDRT at a meeting of the Public-Private Joint Council for Overseas Emergency Relief chaired by Minister of Foreign Affairs Park Jin.
By Park Hye Ri