Second Group Join Tasmania Bushfire Battle

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Australian bush fires.

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.

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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.

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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.

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Selwyn Manning, BCS (Hons.) MCS (Hons.) is an investigative political journalist with 23 years media experience. He specializes in reportage and analysis of socioeconomics, politics, foreign affairs, and security/intelligence issues. Selwyn has extensive experience as a commentator and has provided live political analysis to a wide range of television and radio organizations broadcasting in New Zealand, Australia and globally including the BBC (Five Live, London) and BBC (World Service). He is currently a correspondent to Australia's FiveAA radio, and is a regular live-on-air panelist on Radio New Zealand's The Panel with broadcaster Jim Mora.

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