Kiwi firefighters heading to US to battle blazes

  • 21/08/2015
The Oregon and Washington fires have scorched more than 200,000 hectares in the past few days (Reuters)
The Oregon and Washington fires have scorched more than 200,000 hectares in the past few days (Reuters)

Fifteen New Zealand rural firefighters are flying to northwestern United States to help with efforts against massive forest fires.

The 15 will fly out this weekend and join 60 of their Australian counterparts battling the blazes in Washington, Montana, California and Oregon.

"Their logistics skills will be in high demand, especially managing aircraft to fight fires and ferry supplies to remote locations," said National Rural Fire officer Kevin O'Connor.

"They are likely to be working in rugged, mountainous terrain, which will make for a demanding deployment, especially in the very high temperatures gripping those states at the moment."

The Oregon and Washington fires have scorched more than 200,000 hectares in the past few days and California fires have burned nearly 50,000 hectares this year, he said.

The firefighters will spend two weeks working in the US, but could stay another two weeks if needed.

A team of rural firefighters returned from a month-long deployment to Canada little more than a week ago.

NZN