Report by NewsroomPlus.com
A second deployment of two taskforces (forty-three firefighters and liaison staff) will left for Australia on Sunday, 14 February to help combat bush fires in Tasmania.
The additional deployment is in response to Tasmania’s Fire Authorities seeking further assistance, and will take over from two New Zealand taskforces, which are due to return home on 16 February.
National Rural Fire Officer Kevin O’Connor said the firefighters would fly out from Auckland and Christchurch on Sunday to begin the three-week deployment.
He said crews already there were making good progress building containment lines around the fires, and that their Tasmanian counterparts are appreciative of the Kiwis efforts.
The incoming deployment would initially concentrate on containing fires around Arthur River in Tasmania’s northwest, where bushfires were threating local communities.
Nearly 75 fires are burning throughout Tasmania, most started by lightning strikes and fuelled by drought conditions and strong winds. To date 110,212 hectares of land has been burnt.
Sunday’s deployment will be the 18th overseas by rural firefighters since 2001 – and the 10th to Australia.