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More New Zealand firefighters head to Victoria

More New Zealand firefighters head to Victoria

19 February 2013

Another 22 specialist forest firefighters will leave today to help fight the Victoria bushfires. They will join the 44 who left last week to relieve Australian firefighters working in the Gippsland area.

National Rural Fire Authority Operations Manager Gary Lockyer said Victoria is experiencing a difficult fire season with two major fires burning and a number of smaller fires in the west of the State.

“Like our deployment last week, today’s team is drawn from the forestry sector and from the Department of Conservation. They are all well qualified and keen to help their Australian colleagues.”

Each team will spend at least two weeks away. Mr Lockyer said New Zealand has the capacity to send more firefighters if they are requested, without it impacting on the resources available to deal with any rural fires in this country.

In January, 13 firefighters were sent to help fight bushfires in remote areas of Tasmania.

“These deployments are a reflection of the strong relationship New Zealand fire authorities have built with their Australian counterparts over the years to share training, knowledge, and research and provide assistance to each other when needed,” he said.

Background: 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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