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Source: New Zealand Government

The New Zealand Government is today sending 21 firefighters to help fight the ongoing catastrophic Australian bushfires.

“The fires in Australia are in some of the toughest, most challenging conditions ever,” says Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin.  “As of yesterday morning, there were 100 active bushfire-related incidents across Queensland and New South Wales.

“Because of the extreme severity of these events, Fire and Emergency New Zealand is deploying 21 New Zealand firefighters this afternoon to support the effort in fighting the Queensland wildfires.” The New Zealand contingent of six three-person crews, consisting of two taskforce leaders and one liaison officer, will begin operations on Wednesday.

These crews are in addition to the six New Zealand personnel currently assisting in New South Wales.

“The request to provide this assistance is recognition of the high regard in which our Fire and Emergency personnel are held internationally,” says Minister Martin.

“Deployments such as this also provide valuable development opportunities for our personnel. Some of the lessons learnt on past overseas deployments were put into practice at the Tasman fires in February.”

The Government will continue to monitor the situation closely, and Fire and Emergency remain in contact with Australian fire authorities about their needs. The situation in Australia is extremely dynamic and numbers deployed are likely to change at short notice.

“My thoughts are with all of the firefighters combating these fires. I know our firefighters head to Australia with the support of all New Zealanders behind them.”

ENDS

Contact Richard Ninness 021 892 536

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