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New Zealand rural firefighters head to Tasmania

New Zealand rural firefighters head to Tasmania

A dozen rural firefighters will leave New Zealand tomorrow to help fight the Tasmania bushfires.

National Rural Fire Officer Murray Dudfield said the Tasmania fire agencies made the request for assistance last evening, asking for people with experience in fighting fires in tall timber, remote and high country areas.

Two crews of six, one group made up of Department of Conservation staff from Northland, and the other of forestry workers from the Nelson region, will fly out tomorrow afternoon. The team leader is National Rural Fire Authority Rural Fire Manager John Barnes from Christchurch.

“This team will use equipment provided by the local agencies and are likely to be deployed for at least two weeks,” said Mr Dudfield.

Over the past decade New Zealand firefighters have been deployed several times to assist their Australian counterparts fight bushfires. The largest continent sent was in 2009 when 110 rural firefighters were deployed to Victoria.

“New Zealand fire authorities have built up a strong relationship with their Australian counterparts over the years and share training, knowledge, research and have agreements to provide assistance to each other when need,” he said.

Note: Rural firefighters are not New Zealand Fire Service personnel. They are generally DOC and forestry personnel, or people who live in rural communities who volunteer and train as a rural fire fighting force.


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