Another 65 New Zealand fire personnel headed overseas
EMBARGOED UNTIL 6:00am, Monday 6 August 2018
Another contingent of New Zealand fire personnel is heading overseas, this time to help combat the growing number of wildfires in Canada.
Fire and Emergency New Zealand National Manager, Rural Kevin O’Connor says 54 firefighters plus an 11 person incident management team will start flying out of Auckland this evening (Monday 6 August). The deployment is in addition to the 36 fire personnel who are about to be deployed in the north/ northwest of the United States.
"At the latest count there are 453 fires burning in British Columbia and the British Columbia Wildfire Service has requested assistance to help manage the situation from other Canadian provinces as well as New Zealand, Mexico and Australia," Mr O’Connor says.
The New Zealand contingent will be made up of 18 three-person crews who will be engaged in fire suppression and the management team which will assist with the management of multiple fires.
Members of the contingent have been drawn from Fire and Emergency New Zealand, the Department of Conservation, the New Zealand Defence Force, forestry companies and contractors. They will fly first to Vancouver to be inducted and briefed and then be deployed.
The deployment is the 22nd overseas for New Zealand fire personnel since 2000 and the fourth to Canada in that time. Last year 83 New Zealand fire personnel were sent to British Columbia.
Mr O’Connor says the deployment will provide valuable developmental opportunities for the personnel taking part and highlights the high regard in which New Zealand fire personnel are held internationally.