The Black Summer Bushfires of 2019-20 are still fresh in the memory of most Australians.
But for three Southern Highlands RFS volunteers, that dark period and the help they received from overseas firefighters will spur them on as they head to North America.
Large swathes of Canada and the Pacific Coast of America have been decimated as wildfires continue to burn out of control.
The RFS have sent 22 volunteers to Canada alongside personnel from other agencies, with three coming from the Southern Highlands.
Group Captains Rowan Lund and Andrew Beville from Wingecarribee will serve as Ignition Specialists and Air Attack Supervisors in British Columbia while Firefighter James Koens of Alpine Rural Fire Brigade will head to Ontario as an Operations Director and Strike Team Leader.
RFS Community Safety Officer David Stimson said the volunteers were looking forward to giving back.
"I think every occasion would have some personal aspect to it," he told the Southern Highland News.
"These guys have been in the service for quite some years and they've fought many, many fires.
"I think the other thing that comes forward with a lot of these people [Canadians] is just the thanks for them putting themselves out to come over here and help. We're returning the favour so to speak."
Stimson said the Southern Highlands team was proud to see three of their own not hesitate to step up and make a difference.
"We are extremely proud to think that our people will one, give up the time for it but at the same time utilise the skills they've developed throughout their time here as volunteers with the Rural Fire Service," he said.
"To be able to put those skills to good use assisting those countries [is important], as we know America and Canada very quickly did back in our fires of 2019-20.
"The other thing is all of them have varying skills. The two guys [Lund and Beville] going to British Columbia are very highly sought after volunteers throughout our state whenever there are major fires to do aviation work. They are certainly the experts in that field.
"The third guy [Koens] is going over to take the role of Strike Team Leader and also Operations Manager. So he is very highly skilled in those particular disciplines."
The group touched down in Canada on Wednesday (AEST) and will spend up to five weeks working to assist local forces.
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