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New Zealand sends Firefighters to Australia

New Zealand sends Firefighters to Australia

New Zealand is sending 21 firefighters to Australia to help fight the more than 100 "devastating" fires that are raging the country.

New Zealand sends Firefighters to Australia

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has been in contact with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who said he was very grateful for the additional support.

“We have been exchanging a number of messages over what are devastating fires.” 

“Obviously there will be fatigue for those firefighters who are on the ground and we’re looking to have those New Zealand firefighters help relieve that.” said Ardern. 

The New Zealand contingent of six three-person crews, consisting of two taskforce leaders and one liaison officer, will begin operations today. There is already six New Zealand personnel assisting in New South Wales.

Yesterday, Ardern told her post-Cabinet press conference that New Zealand was ready and willing to send more firefighters to Australia.

“The fires in Australia are in some of the toughest, most challenging conditions ever,” says Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin.  “As of yesterday morning, there were 100 active bushfire-related incidents across Queensland and New South Wales.

In the past 12 months, 140 New Zealand firefighters have gone to help in Australia.

The “catastrophic” day feared was largely been avoided after the feared southerly wind change has now occurred. 

No deaths were reported on Tuesday but fire chiefs warned that conditions meant the dangers facing the state were far from over.

Crews have been battling a front spanning 1,000km along the north coast of NSW, with several blazes “exceeding 100,000 hectares alone”, officials have said.

Flame retardant had to be dropped on Sydney’s northern outskirts as some bushfires approached within 15km (nine miles) of the city centre.

Three people have died and more than 170 properties have been destroyed since the fire emergency intensified in NSW on Friday.

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