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NZ Rural Firefighters Deploying to Australia Tomorrow

NZ Rural Firefighters Deploying to Australia Tomorrow


A taskforce of New Zealand rural firefighters will be deployed to Australia tomorrowto help contain bushfires in Victoria. A second taskforce will leave on Monday.

This follows a request from the Victoria Fire Services Commissioner to the National Rural Fire Authority for a contingent who can work in the remote national park areas of Gippsland.

National Rural Fire Officer Murray Dudfield says fire forces from throughout Australia have been rotating in and out of Victoria for several weeks.

“Victoria is going through one of its longest and most intense heat waves. There are fires burning across the state and there has been little respite from the extreme hot weather,” he said.

Many of New Zealand’s rural firefighters are Department of Conservation staff or forestry workers. They are experienced in fighting fires in difficult and remote areas. Many also have previous experience fighting bushfires in Australia and the United States.

“The Victorian Fire Services Commissioner has specifically requested fit people who can work in arduous conditions, and who are prepared to work long shifts and sleep at mobile base camps. The first team of 22 is made up of people from the Auckland region, the central North Island and Southland. They are DOC, forestry or local authority personnel. The first team will return on 18 February and the second on 22 February.”

Ends

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