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New Zealand Injured Firefighters Update

19 December

New Zealand Injured Firefighters Update

Three New Zealand fire fighters are still recovering at The Alfred Hospital in Melbourne but remain in high spirits after suffering burns and smoke inhalation while fighting a fire in the Howqua Valley on Saturday.

Ian Millman, Representative of the New Zealand National Rural Fire Authority said that the injured fire fighters were in good spirits and looking forward to setting a return date home.

"We are pleased that none of them suffered life threatening burns and all are recovering well.” Mr Millman said.

Angela Duggan, partner of injured firefighter, Barrie Hunt, said the many messages of support – particularly from the people of New Zealand – had greatly aided the recovery of the men.

Barrie Hunt, from the High Country Fire Team based at Canterbury, South Island, said they were still thinking about their mates on the fire front.

Two more New Zealand fire fighters who were hospitalised in Wangaratta and Mansfield are fully recovered and returned to their colleagues at camp while the remaining five have returned to full duties.

The incident on Saturday involved 40 of the 48 strong contingent of New Zealand fire fighters while they were fighting the main fire, on Steiners Road in the Howqua Valley, 30 kilometres South East of Mansfield in north-east Victoria.

While attempting to restrict the spread of a spot fire, the main fire increased intensity and the fire fighters took evasive action.

Andrew Graystone, State Duty Officer, Department of Sustainability and Environment said that the New Zealand contingent had been a valuable resource in fighting the fires.

“The efforts of the New Zealand contingent have been greatly appreciated and their presence has certainly assisted the control of these severe fires,” Mr Graystone said.

The New Zealand fire fighters and the New Zealand National Fire Authority would like to extend a note of thanks and appreciation for all the support and comradery they have experienced from all those involved in the fire fighting efforts in Victoria.


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