In December, Jeff Austin, an air-attack officer with the British Columbia Wildfire Service who has spent forty-one years on the fire line, was at his farm, in British Columbia’s Cariboo region, when he learned that Australia had officially requested help from North America to fight its bushfires.

There’d been a cold snap in Cariboo; temperatures reached more than thirty below zero. Austin would have to ask a neighbor to care for his cattle, but he made up his mind instantly: he was heading Down Under. In 2017 and 2018, British Columbia had suffered two back-to-back record fire seasons, and “the Aussies came out both years and helped me and an incident-management team immensely,” he said. “It was an obligation to return the favor.”

Read more on this story at The New Yorker