25 November 2019
The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) has sent another three firefighters to Australia to help control bushfires spreading across New South Wales and Queensland.
The three firefighters, two from the New Zealand Army and one from the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF), have gone to Queensland, where there are about 60 active bushfires and about 180,000 hectares have been burnt.
The firefighters will work alongside colleagues from Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) and Queensland Fire and Emergency Services.
This brings to seven the number of firefighters the NZDF has deployed to join the FENZ effort across the Tasman.
Four NZDF firefighters are already in New South Wales based near Wauchope, where they have been helping control fires, carrying out fire patrols and performing back-burning operations to stop fires from spreading.
FENZ requested assistance from the NZDF following discussions with their counterparts in Australia.
An earlier-than-anticipated start to the Australian fire season has been exacerbated by a lack of rain, resulting in a significant number of bush fires in the Australian states.
Major Kenny Long, the Officer Commanding for the NZ Army’s firefighting unit, said the three additional firefighters left on Friday for Queensland and were now based near Toowoomba.
The three firefighters would be in Queensland for about two weeks, Major Long said.