Amba Addinsall is happy to be home.
After almost six weeks tackling wildfires in Canada’s British Columbia province, the Eden resident has spent the past two weeks readjusting to work back at Forestry Corporation.
“(The experience) is still on my mind. Little things keep reminding me of it,” she said.
Ms Addinsall was part of a 100-strong Australian taskforce, with her small team helping to contain a 200,000ha fire at Elephant Hill.
“We went over there as remote area firefighters, the first time Aussies were on the front line in that position,” Ms Addinsall said.
“I think (the Canadians) were stretched. I think it’s the biggest season they’ve seen.”
And it did not take long for Ms Addinsall to truly understand the challenge.
“It was like a marathon working 14 days straight, 12-hour days, before having a two-day break and doing it again,” she said.
Ms Addinsall also picked up new skills during the deployment, including plumbing a line and laying hoses and pumps.
She also received handy bear awareness training in the initial briefing.
“We saw two black bears. One was probably 50m from our vehicle,” Ms Addinsall said.
Despite the demanding conditions she was thankful for the opportunity.
“Going over there I knew it was going to be really physically demanding,” Ms Addinsall said.
“It was good to know that I could still do that. I enjoyed meeting and working with the other agencies and made some really good connections.
“I’m not sure if I’d do it in the same capacity again. Having done the on-ground stuff I think I’d do more around planning and responding to the fire.”
Being away from her three children and husband was a challenge for Ms Addinsall, who was able to Skype them about every three days.
“I was a bit homesick but still very focused on the job at hand,” she said.
Earlier this week the Elephant Hill fire was no longer considered a threat and all evacuations have ceased.