MELBOURNE -- Canadian fire specialists were greeted with applause when they landed in Melbourne on Saturday to join an international team fighting the devastating Australian wildfires.

The team of 28 Canadians will spend the next month in Victoria as part of the state’s emergency response team. Already, dozens of Canadians have travelled to Australia to help out.

But rather than battling flames on the frontlines, the new Canadian team will help in a variety of tactical capacities, including aviation, fire prediction and managing teams of hundreds of firefighters already on the ground.

Already, the flames have destroyed an area roughly twice the size of Nova Scotia, and experts fear that the worst is yet to come as the hottest days of summer have yet to begin.

At least 28 people have died since the fires broke out late last year. Sydney and Melbourne have been overwhelmed by toxic smoke, and the country is expected to lose billions in tourism revenue as travel bookings drop by 10 to 20 per cent.