Canada hopes for rain to stifle wildfire, rejects international assistance
“There is no doubt that people around the world have been marked by this disaster and have been very generous in their offers of support, but the reality is with all of the assistance of people across this country, we don't need help from other countries at this time,” he said as cited by the Canadian Press.
Last week Russia’s Emergency Ministry offered to provide heavy water bombers and specialized crews to facilitate the out-of-control inferno taking place near Fort McMurray. Other offers came from the US, Mexico, Australia, Taiwan, and Israel as well as from Palestinians.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that he truly appreciated the willingness of the international community to help, but stressed that there was no need for it as there are already water bombers and firefighters from several of the country’s provinces ready and available, for example Ontario and Quebec.
“The good news is from the support that we’ve seen from Canadians across the country, different provinces sending over water bombers, engaged in all sorts of different ways, firefighters coming from all across the country to help, is that there is no need to accept any international assistance at this point. But we certainly thank everyone for their generosity,” Trudeau said at a news conference in Ottawa, The Globe and Mail reported.
Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said Canadian authorities are moving closer towards getting the blaze under control and stressed that the one thing that is definitely going to resolve the crisis is a change in weather.
“The decision was made by the firefighters in the emergency management system that (foreign help) wasn’t necessary because of the nature of this blaze,” Goodale said as quoted by the Canadian Press. “This beast is so big the only thing that will fix it is rain.”
A lot of Canada’s residents are wondering why Trudeau had to reject help in a critical situation like this when there are as many as seven out-of-control fires raging through the territory, an RT journalist and foreign affairs analyst reported.
“We can use all the help that we can get, at least that’s what I’m hearing from the left to the right – it doesn’t matter what people are on the political spectrum. Everybody that’s I’m talking to says ‘we need help’,” Alex Mihailovich said speaking to RT.
Canadian citizen Nina Braidy told Russia’s TASS agency she was “very disappointed” at Trudeau for not accepting Russia’s “kind and generous offer.”
“I want to say thank you to your country for your compassion towards our citizens in this time of trouble and apologize for our prime minister’s blatant disrespect,” she wrote to TASS.
Alberta wildfires have been raging since last Sunday and have rapidly swept through an area of some 200,000 hectares (494,211 acres) which has seen scenes of utter devastation. More than 2,400 buildings and homes were destroyed in the blaze and as many as 80,000 people have been forced to evacuate.