Update – Four locals off to fight North American fires


Two more Mid South Canterbury firefighters will join another contingent of New Zealand fire personnel heading overseas.
This time to help combat growing number of wildfires in Canada.
Fire and Emergency New Zealand national manager rural Kevin O’Connor said 54 firefighters plus an 11 person incident management team were due to fly out of Auckland tonight (Monday, August 6).
The deployment was in addition to the 36 fire personnel who were about to be deployed throughout the north/ northwest of the United States.
Two Mid South Canterbury firefighters were in that deployment. They left last week for Boise Idaho, to help with wildfires raging in the north and northwest United States.
Mr O’Connor said at the latest count there are 453 fires burning in British Columbia.
“The British Columbia Wildfire Service has requested assistance to help manage the situation from other Canadian provinces as well as New Zealand, Mexico and Australia,” Mr O’Connor said.
The New Zealand contingent was made up of 18 three-person crews who would engage in fire suppression and the management team which to assist with the management of multiple fires.
Members of the contingent had been drawn from Fire and Emergency New Zealand, the Department of Conservation, the New Zealand Defence Force, forestry companies and contractors.
They will fly first to Vancouver to be inducted and briefed and then deployed.
The deployment was the 22nd overseas for New Zealand fire personnel since 2000 and the fourth to Canada in that time.
Last year 83 New Zealand fire personnel were sent to British Columbia.
Mr O’Connor said the deployment would provide valuable developmental opportunities for personnel taking part and highlighted the high regard in which New Zealand fire personnel were held internationally.

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