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Grateful thanks to firefighters

The Brumby Government has thanked overseas and interstate firefighters for their contribution to the ongoing effort to fight Victoria’s bushfires.
Environment and Climate Change Minister Gavin Jennings met the 53 New Zealanders who had just arrived to join the battle against the fires.
“It takes a lot of courage and commitment to be involved in fire fighting and so to come all the way across the Tasman to help Victoria during this terrible time deserves the highest praise,” Mr Jennings said.
“It is important that the thousands of Victorians who are still involved in fighting these fires get a break and so we are very grateful to the people from interstate and overseas that are lending us their specialist skills and their effort.
“It’s also important to thank the thousands of people from the Australian Defence Force, Police, SES, councils, charities and other community organisations who have pitched in.
“Now that the New Zealanders have arrived there are around 600 overseas and interstate fire fighters working in Victoria. I’ve met some of them and seen their at work across the state including New South Wales firefighters in Beechworth, Tasmanian firefighters in Woori Yallock and the South Australians in Churchill.
“These firefighters are doing everything from aviation to tall forest firefighting, burnt area recovery and bulldozer management.
“We have existing mutual aid agreements in place with the USA, Canada and New Zealand to enable us to move quickly when the need arises.
“We now have going fires burning in parts of the state that are difficult to obtain access to and which require this specialist support.”

Interstate firefighters:
• NSW RFS: 44 strike team vehicles (200 personnel) NSW Fire Brigades: 45 personnel, 13 appliances, 5 NSW Ambulance with 3 vehicles;
• NSW Forest and National Parks Services: 21 appliances (39 personnel);
• Tasmania: 110 personnel and 30 appliances;
• ACT: 105 personnel, 20 appliances;
• SA: 123 personnel, 19 appliances; and
• WA: 22 personnel (IMT, sector commanders, forest fire crews)