New Zealand firefighters assisting in New South Wales
Twenty-six New Zealand firefighters are departing for Australia on Thursday (Thursday 21 November) to help fight the wild fires burning in New South Wales since the start of September.
The New Zealand contingent of five five-person crews and one strike team leader will arrive in Sydney on Thursday evening, before being deployed to fires around the state.
These crews are in addition to around 50 New Zealand Fire and Emergency personnel already in Australia.
Large wildfires have been raging in both New South Wales and Queensland for the past ten weeks.
As of 20th November, there were nearly 60 active bushfires in New South Wales.
"Wildfire behaviour in New South Wales remains extreme and firefighting conditions are tough as the weather conditions remain hot, dry and windy," says Tim Mitchell, Manager Rural Fire, Fire and Emergency New Zealand.
"Fighting fires of this size is a hugely demanding job and we’re happy to continue supporting our Australian colleagues when we’re needed."
The New Zealand crews will be working 12 hour shifts for two five-day rotations. There will be a rest day between the rotations and an internal travel day on either side.
"Overseas deployments provide valuable firefighting experience in different environments that our people can use when fighting wildfires back home," says Tim Mitchell.
Over the past 19 years we’ve deployed more than 1000 people overseas; Nearly 200 of them in the past 12 months to Australia. Since 2000 we have deployed 28 times to Canada, USA and Australia.
Deployed personnel are from: