Twenty-two firefighters are departing for Australia on Monday, 6 November to help fight wildfires burning across Queensland.
The contingent is made up of four five-person crews and two strike team leaders. Five of these firefighters are from the Department of Conservation, while the remaining 17 are Fire and Emergency personnel.
They will join an Incident Management Team (IMT) made up of six Fire and Emergency personnel, who arrived in Australia a day earlier.
Large wildfires have been burning across several regions in the southern part of Queensland since early September.
As of today, there are 52 active bushfires in Queensland.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Service (QFES) crews have responded to more than 1000 vegetation fires across the state since this fire event began in late October.
Firefighters will be working in arduous conditions. Queensland is experiencing extreme weather conditions and fires are currently raging in remote areas which are often difficult to reach.
Firefighters are expected to be creating containment lines with hand tools, extinguishing fires using fire appliances, and patrolling fires to ensure they stay within containment lines.
“Queensland has experienced prolonged drought conditions for some time, and this has led to increased fire danger across the south-eastern and western parts of the state,” says Deputy National Commander Brendan Nally said.
“They’re tough firefighting conditions over there at the moment. Fighting fires of this size is a hugely demanding job and we’re happy to support our neighbours in Australia when we’re needed.
“These international deployments are not only beneficial for the countries that receive help, but to our people.
“They gain valuable experience and skills in dealing with large scale and complex wildfires, which are different from the types of fires they usually encounter back home,” says Brendan Nally.
The Alpha deployment will be replaced by a Bravo deployment later in November.
Alongside predecessor organisations, Fire and Emergency has been deploying personnel internationally to wildfire emergencies for over 20 years. This contingent will be Fire and Emergency’s 70th deployment overseas.
Brendan Nally also thanked the friends and family of those deployed who would be picking up the load back home to enable their loved ones to deploy.