19 January 2017
The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) is sending five experienced firefighters to help battle the devastating bush fire in Whitianga.
Major General Tim Gall, the Commander Joint Forces New Zealand, said the firefighters – four from the New Zealand Army and one from the Royal New Zealand Air Force – would be leaving for the Coromandel this afternoon in response to a request from the National Rural Fire Authority.
“Our firefighters have vast experience here and overseas in fighting bush fires. Last year we sent 10 firefighters to remote bushland in north-west Tasmania to help battle the state’s bush fires for about a month,” Major General Gall said.
“We will do our best to assist the local community in Whitianga and hope that our firefighting crew will be able to help get the blaze under control soon.”
The fast-spreading bush fire started on Tuesday afternoon, and has been fanned by strong south-westerly winds. So far it has burned about 100 hectares and destroyed six homes, 12 other buildings and orchards.