NZ fire managers to help battle Canadian wildfires

NZ fire managers to help battle Canadian wildfires

4 August 2009

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New Zealand/Canada — Six New Zealand fire managers will form part of a 30-strong contingent from Australia and New Zealand to help tackle the wildfires burning in Canada, says Internal Affairs Minister Nathan Guy. 

Mr Guy, who is responsible for New Zealand’s fire services, said the British Columbia Forest Service had sought urgent help from Australia and New Zealand to fight more than 500 wildfires burning out of control.

“Six specialist fire managers will leave on Wednesday from Auckland International Airport and will be deployed for up to 32 days.  They are likely to be involved with the management of wildfires in remote areas of British Columbia.”

This deployment is being undertaken under an arrangement signed between New Zealand and Canada in 2008.

It has been organised through the Forest Fire Management Group which is a sub-committee of the Australian/New Zealand parliamentary Ministerial Council.

National Rural Fire Officer Murray Dudfield said the full contingent would include specific operational staff such as incident controllers, operation managers and fire line supervisors, fire behaviour analysts and information officers.

“The Canadian wildfires are burning in tall forest in steep and remote locations – and we will only be sending staff that have extensive experience with these conditions and can manage fires in such a difficult situation,” he said.

Mr Dudfield said New Zealand has a close association with Canada. “The adoption of the Canadian Fire Danger Rating System in New Zealand and the ongoing fire research collaboration are examples of this. We welcome the opportunity to support them in their time of need to assist with the management of some of their extended wildfire incidents.”

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