Words By: Trilokesh Chanmugam
Eight Western Australian firefighters left Perth yesterday as part of an international contingent to battle bushfires in the United States. The team will be based in California, Oregon, and Washington State.
Emergency Services Minister Joe Francis, who saw the firefighters off at Perth airport, said in a media statement that there were currently almost 100 uncontained bushfires burning across the US.
“Our personnel will serve as helicopter managers, division supervisors and taskforce leaders to help relieve exhausted local fire crews and help protect communities under extreme threat,” Mr Francis said.
In the media statement, Environment Minister Albert Jacob reportedly said that so far this year, fires in the US had burnt more than 2.9 million hectares.
“The impact on communities has been devastating, and it’s fortunate that we are able to help as part of an international effort to help contain these fires,” Mr Jacob said.
The Australian and New Zealand deployment includes 20 officers from Victoria, 18 from NSW, nine from WA, four from ACT, three from South Australia, two from Queensland and 15 from New Zealand.