NZ firefighters called on to fight Australian bush fires

NZ firefighters called on to fight Australian bush fires

29 January 2014

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Australia / New Zealand — The New Zealand Fire Service has answered a call for help from across the ditch, with a group of firefighters due to arrive in the country tomorrow.

A group of 22 rural fire fighters have been called on to help their Australian counterparts contain raging bush fires in the remote Gippsland region in Victoria.

National Rural Fire Officer Murray Dudfield says fire forces from throughout Australia have been rotating in and out of the hard-hit state 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.

Victoria has faced dozens of bush fires during the last month as temperatures exceed 40 degrees Celsius.

There are currently 13 fires still listed as “going” in parts of the rural region, near Melbourne, according to the Gippsland Times.

Mr Dudfield says the Victorian Fire Services Commissioner had specifically requested fit people who can work in arduous conditions, and who are prepared to work long shifts and sleep at mobile base camps.

Hey says many of New Zealand’s rural firefighters are Department of Conservation staff or forestry workers and are experienced in fighting bushfires in Australia and the United States.

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