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Fire Fighters – Second Deployment to the US

24 August 2006

Fire Fighters – Second Deployment to the US

Internal Affairs Minister Rick Barker announced today that a second deployment of New Zealand rural fire service personnel to the Western United States to help fight wildfires.

"On 9 August, 10 rural fire service personnel were dispatched to the Western United States. A further request for assistance was received from the United States Multi-Agency Coordination Group recently, we are responding to that request.

"Ten further personnel will be on their way out of Auckland this evening. The people being deployed come from both the Department of Conservation and the New Zealand Fire Service," said Mr Barker.

New Zealand, Australia and the US are parties to mutual assistance agreements covering the provision of specialist wildfire fighting capability in times of need. The agreements stipulate that the host country pays for the deployment.

Mr Barker has previously noted that the mutual assistance agreements work both ways – New Zealand provides additional capability at times of extreme fire conditions abroad, gain experience in working in large incidents and build our capability; and it is known that in a time of need New Zealand will receive the same support.

"We expect that the ten going today, making 20 in total, will be away a further twenty to thirty days depending on the conditions there.

Mr Barker noted his appreciation in wishing the rural fire service personnel well and said "I hope they return safely soon but I know that their contribution will be appreciated and their expertise put to good use.

ENDS

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