One time Fort Simpson resident in Australia to help battle raging wildfires

Tanya Letcher from her Facebook page

A former Fort Simpson resident is among dozens of Canadians who have gone to Australia to help battle that country’s devastating wildfires.

Tanya Letcher is reportedly there but it’s not entirely clear which part of Australia she’s been posted to or exactly what her role is.

According to her Linkedin internet account, Tanya is a Wildfire Training Specialist at the Alberta government’s Environment and Sustainable Resource Development branch.

She also once worked for the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) with the Government of the Northwest Territories.

It’s believed she is the only firefighter from the NWT recruited to help with the fires raging in Australia.

It’s not clear if the government of Australia has reached out to the territory for firefighter help.

CKLB has reached out to Tanya via social media but we have yet to hear back.

We’re putting that down to the time differential and the busy schedule it’s assumed she must be keeping.

Roughly two months after bushfires erupted across Australia, authorities in New South Wales declared a state of emergency Thursday — the second in as many months.

Conditions are worsening this coming weekend, presenting further danger to residents and emergency responders struggling with the deadly blazes.

At least seven people have died — including at least three volunteer firefighters.

And with more than 100 fires still ablaze there, local police are warning tourists to get out of the state’s hard-hit southern regions.

Thousands of evacuees clogged roads on their way out of the area yesterday, stuck in traffic for up to 10 hours.

More than three million hectares of New South Wales have burnt in recent months, with University of Sydney professor of ecology Chris Dickman estimating 480 million mammals, birds and reptiles had been killed, directly or indirectly, by the flames.

(with files from Josh Campbell)



About the Author

John McFadden
John has been in the broadcast journalism industry since the 1980s. He has been a reporter in Yellowknife since 2012 and joined CKLB in January of 2018. John covers the crime and court beat as well as reporting on other areas including politics, business, entertainment and sports. He won seven national community newspaper awards while he was a journalist with Northern News Services Limited (NNSL). John worked in Ontario before coming North including stints as a TV sportscaster in Peterborough and senior news writer for CBC and CTV in downtown Toronto.