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Support from interstate firefighters "invaluable" for Victoria

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20 Feb 2014
Fire and Rescue NSW support frees up Vic firefighters for Hazelwood

Thirty Fire and Rescue NSW firefighters (FRNSW) arrived in Victoria yesterday to support CFA firefighters being deployed to the open cut mine fire at Hazelwood and MFB crews stepping up to CFA stations.

Victoria’s Fire Services Commissioner Craig Lapsley said the crews would be stationed at metropolitan and major regional CFA stations across Victoria.

“Fire Rescue NSW is an urban firefighting service and will bring specialist urban trucks for response to building fires, industrial fires, car fires and hazmat incidents," he said.

The NSW crews will be stationed at 10 stations including Geelong City, Shepparton and Dandenong, working side by side with local career and volunteer firefighters.

They brought with them 10 trucks and three management staff. Another 30 firefighters will arrive today.

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

“We will staff these metropolitan and larger regional stations with NSW crews, giving us the opportunity to move some career firefighters to increase resources at Hazelwood,” he said.

FRNSW Commissioner Greg Mullins said more than 200 FRNSW firefighters will be deployed to Victoria over the next two weeks. 

“Firefighters in Victoria have been operating at a very high tempo for the past few weeks, fighting a number of large and intense bushfires.

“Victorian firefighters provided assistance to NSW in October last year when bushfires ravaged the Blue Mountains, Southern Highlands and Central Coast of NSW, with firefighters from the MFB,CFA and Department of Environment and Primary Industries working at a number of fires 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.” 

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 in the open cut coal mine near Morwell.

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.  MFB crews who have been stepped up to some of these stations will now return to the Metropolitan District.

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