An increase in fire danger in Queensland means the arrival of Fire and Emergency New Zealand’s next contingent of firefighters is timely.
Favourable weather conditions in the past 10 days had seen the number of bushfires in the state drop from 70 to 38 by last weekend, but the Queensland Fire and Emergency Service (QFES) issued a warning on Tuesday that heightened bushfire conditions are expected over the coming days. On Thursday, the number of bushfires in the state sat at 54.
That coincides with the arrival of Fire and Emergency’s Bravo deployment on Thursday, who replaced the Alpha strike team, and will again consist of 22 personnel (four five-person crews and two strike team leaders). One of the five-person crews will again be provided by the Department of Conservation, with the remainder Fire and Emergency personnel.
The Alpha strike team will arrive back in New Zealand on Saturday evening, while the six-person Alpha Incident Management Team are back on Friday evening. The IMT has not been replaced.
The Bravo strike team will be based in the Carnavon area in central Queensland. The Alpha team had moved there in recent days after originally being based further south working on the Wallangarra, Dalveen and Donnybrook fires.
Tasks the strike team have undertaken include removing trees that are blocking access, identifying and treating hotspots, and backburning, which is where vegetation is burned at the edge of a current fire before the bushfire gets there in an effort to contain the fire to a certain area.
Fire and Emergency Deputy National Commander Steph Rotarangi says the crews are undertaking important mahi to assist our Australian neighbours.
“Not only have our teams been fighting the fires, but they’ve also been out engaging with the community to lift their spirits.
“I’d like to offer my thanks for the Alpha deployment for their work, as well as their friends and family for keeping things going back home.
“I know our Bravo team will only continue to hold the high standards demonstrated by our Alpha deployment.”
Fire and Emergency has not received any further formal requests for assistance from QFES, so at this point in time, Bravo will be the final deployment to Queensland.