WA firefighters off to battle US bushfires

WA firefighters off to battle US bushfires

6074056-4x3-940x705Eight Western Australian firefighters left Perth today bound for the United States where they will help fight dozens of bushfires burning across the western part of the country.

 

The four Department of Parks and Wildlife and four Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) personnel are part of a contingent of 71 firefighters from Australia and New Zealand flying to Idaho from Sydney tomorrow.  They will join DFES assistant commissioner Chris Arnol who left for the US on Wednesday.

 

Emergency Services Minister Joe Francis, who saw off the Western Australian firefighters from Perth Airport, said there were currently almost 100 uncontained bushfires burning across the US.

 

“The Australian and New Zealand contingent will be deployed to California, Oregon and Washington State, with WA providing one air-based and three field-based officers from each department,” Mr Francis said.

 

“Our Western Australian firefighters are highly skilled and experienced in fighting forest fires from the air and on the ground, which will be invaluable in helping the US counterparts.

 

“Our personnel will serve as helicopter managers, division supervisors and taskforce leaders to help relieve exhausted local fire crews and help protect communities under extreme threat.”

 

Environment Minister Albert Jacob said that so far this year fires in the US had burnt more than 2.9 million hectares.

 

“The impact on communities has been devastating, and it’s fortunate that we are able to help as part of an international effort to help contain these fires,” Mr Jacob said.

 

“This is the second international deployment of Western Australian firefighters this year, with 12 personnel from DFES and the Department of Parks and Wildlife helping to fight wildfires in Canada during July and August.”

 

Fact File

  • More than 25,000 personnel are currently fighting the bushfires in the US, including 41 Incident Management Teams and two Area Command Teams
  • The Australian and New Zealand deployment includes 20 officers from Victoria, 18 from NSW, nine from WA, four from ACT, three from South Australia, two from Queensland and 15 from New Zealand

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