Canada’s WATERAX is putting out fires and seeking new opportunities in Europe. With forest fires on the rise, and the year‑old Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union eliminating 98% of tariffs, the company turned to the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service (TCS) for support to expand into new markets on the continent.

The Montreal-based company, which manufactures portable water pumps, was founded in 1898. However, it wasn’t until three EMBA students bought the company in 2010 and rebranded it as WATERAX that it began exporting its outdoor firefighting equipment abroad.

Forest fires have become an issue throughout Europe as temperatures rise. An intense heat wave swept the continent this past summer, triggering deadly fires. In Greece, a state of emergency was declared as forest fires killed 74 people and sent thousands running to escape flames. Sweden lost an estimated 25,000 hectares of forest due to fires, while in Finland, fires devastated forests in the Lapland province.

“What used to be an anomaly in the fire season is now the new normal. It’s no longer a fire season, it’s a fire year,” says Marcello Iacovella, Vice-President of Sales and Business Development, WATERAX.