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Largest ever Kiwi deployment underway in USA

Largest ever Kiwi deployment underway in USA

August 30, 2006

The largest ever deployment of New Zealand bush fire experts is in action in the United States assisting with hundreds of wildfires.

A deployment of eleven firefighters from around New Zealand left for the north-western US on august 9 and a further 10 joined them late last week.

National Rural Fire Officer Murray Dudfield says this is the first time a second deployment from New Zealand has been requested.

“The total deployment of 21 firefighters is by far the most we have committed to helping manage US wildfires.

“The people going to the US will have to work extremely hard for two 14-day stretches, with two rest days in between, but will gain invaluable experience in assisting with containment of these fires.”

The second deployment is on the ground now in Washington, Oregon and Idaho, tackling fires that have claimed 7.5 million acres (3 million hectares) nationally so far this fire season.

The first deployment is taking a break after working for two weeks solid.

The scale of the firefighting operations is enormous, with Counties-Manukau principal rural fire officer Bryan Cartelle listing the resources being used in just the area he is working in, in Washington: “a total of 1977 people are spread over 7 camps. They are using 380 radios, 77 fire engines, 6 helicopters, 28 dozers and a total of 265 miles of hose. We use 3 tons of ice each day and drink 8 pallets of water and Gatorade a day.”

New Zealand firefighters deployed to the US:

Names Contributing Organisation Location
First Deployment
John Barnes National Rural Fire Authority Christchurch
Mike Grant Southern Rural Fire District Invercargill
Paul Devlin Christchurch City Council Christchurch
Nick McCabe Waimea Rural District Nelson
Byran Cartelle Manukau City Council Manukau
Evan Rarere Pumicelands Rural Fire District Rotorua
Kevin Ihaka Aupouri Karikari Rural Fire District Whangarei
Mike Sullivan Aupouri Karikari Rural Fire District Whangarei
John Sutton Department of Conservation – Bay of Plenty Murupara
Eddie Te Kahika Department of Conservation – East Coast/Hawkes Bay Napier
Trevor Bullock Department of Conservation - Northland Kerikeri

Second Deployment
Trevor Tidey Southern Rural Fire District Invercargill
Tim Sheppard Waimakariri District Council Rangiora
John Webster Waimea Rural District Nelson
Rachael Thorp Department of Conservation - Wellington Wellington
Matt Flynn Department of Conservation – Nelson/Marlborough Blenheim
Brian Taylor Department of Conservation - Canterbury Rangiora
Brad Lett Department of Conservation – Bay of Plenty Murupara
Graeme McIntyre Palmerston North City Council Palmerston North
Bill Ellis New Zealand Fire Service Auckland
Paul Kale New Zealand Fire Service Napier

ENDS

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