More Kiwi firefighters sent to Australia


Rural fire crews in Auckland have been called to Australia to help fight bush fires which have burned out of control since Christmas Day.

The fires have already destroyed 116 homes and 2700 hectares of bush in coastal Victoria, and acting principal rural fire officer Thomas Harre says the extra Kiwi crews will be appreciated by exhausted Victorian firefighters on the frontline.

"We sent six Auckland firefighters last week as part of a New Zealand contingent of 20, but the fires are still not under control, so we are sending another six fighters on Monday."

A fire at the Wye River-Jamieson Track has been slowly progressing in mild conditions, and as it approaches coastal communities near the Otway Ranges Mr Harre fears another bout of hot, dry and windy conditions may accelerate the blaze.

The teams from Auckland are made up of firefighters from Awhitu, Great Barrier Island, Puhoi, Waitakere and the Auckland Rural Fire Authority.

They will be working for at least four weeks, dependent on how long the state continues to be plagued with the hot, dry weather.

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