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Fire & Rescue NSW engines and firefighters head to Victoria

Published: 19th February 2014

Ten Fire & Rescue NSW (FRNSW) engines, including two specialist high-rise firefighting vehicles, and 30 firefighters headed to Victoria this afternoon to assist firefighters from the Victorian Fire Services, who have been battling large bushfires for weeks on end.

FRNSW Commissioner Greg Mullins said more than 200 FRNSW firefighters will be deployed to Victoria over the next two weeks. He said this was the first time FRNSW had deployed firefighters interstate to work in fire stations.

"Firefighters from the Country Fire Authority (CFA), Department of Primary Industries, Parks Victoria and Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) have been operating at a very high tempo for the past few weeks, fighting a number of large and intense bushfires. They have also been battling a large fire burning at an open cut mine in Hazelwood.

"On Monday I received a request for assistance from the Victorian Fire Services Commissioner Craig Lapsley.

"Victorian firefighters provided assistance to us in October last year when bushfires ravaged the Blue Mountains, Southern Highlands and Central Coast of NSW, with firefighters from the MFB working at a number of fire stations in the greater Sydney area. We welcome the opportunity to return this support. It's also a great opportunity for FRNSW firefighters to work alongside our interstate counterparts."

FRNSW has also provided three senior officers to assist with coordinating FRNSW resources on the ground. Commissioner Mullins has been in Victoria this week at the request of the Victorian Fire Services Commissioner as part of an expert panel that is providing advice on the response to the fire burning at the mine at Hazelwood.

Victoria's Fire Services Commissioner Craig Lapsley said FRNSW crews would be stationed at metropolitan and major regional centres across Victoria.

"With potentially weeks of work ahead for firefighters in the Latrobe Valley, the ongoing support from interstate and international fire services is invaluable.

"The FRNSW crews arriving today, and over the next two weeks, will be stationed at ten stations including Geelong City, Shepparton and Dandenong, working side by side with career and volunteer firefighters, giving us the opportunity to increase resources at Hazelwood," he said.

The Hazelwood fire is burning along a 3km length of an unused section of the open cut mine and is expected to burn for weeks.

FRNSW firefighters will be stationed at Frankston, Patterson River, Dandenong, Traralgon, Morwell, Shepparton, Bendigo, Ballarat City, Corio and Geelong City.

Commissioner Mullins addresses the first wave of firefighters as they head to Victoria

 

10 FRNSW fire engines are already on the way to Victoria.