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NZ battles its own blaze but sends more fire fighters to Australia

In New Zealand 55 Fire and Emergency firefighters plus support staff and Pan Pac and Forest Management New Zealand fire staff are into their ninth day of fighting a blaze at Hawke’s Bay. Despite their own problems the country has sent a further 21 NZ fire fighters to Australia to help. Source: Timberbiz

The NZ operation is being led by Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ), with Hastings District Council and Hawke’s Bay Emergency Management Group providing the Hastings city-based command facility and communications support, says Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst.

Fire and Emergency and Pan Pac forestry crews have made good progress on securing the 12km perimeter of the fire and the operation is entering the mop-up phase.

There are some areas of deep-seated burning in the centre of the fire ground. Crews will be progressively working to extinguish these in the coming days which means there will still be some smoke coming from the fire.

Helicopters with monsoon buckets were called in on a few occasions to manage some small flare-ups and will continue to be on standby.

A contingent of 21 NZ firefighters left yesterday to support firefighting efforts in New South Wales and is made up of one 21-person task force (four five-person crews and a team leader).

A liaison officer, part of the deployment, has also arrived in New South Wales yesterday. Fire and Emergency New Zealand was created to bring rural and urban firefighters into the same organisation.

NZ has now deployed 179 personnel to assist Australian firefighters since October 2019, which includes this latest group of firefighters.