Firefighters from New Zealand and Australia to assist with wildfires in the U.S.

The National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho is mobilizing firefighters from Australia and New Zealand to assist with wildfire suppression efforts in the western United States. The two countries have been key partners with the U.S. fire community for more than 50 years but were last mobilized in 2008 when heavy fire activity was similar to this year.

The National Multi-Agency Coordinating Group requested 71 fire managers and specialists.  Although final details of the arrangement are still being worked out, the contingent from Australia and New Zealand is expected to arrive in Boise on August 23 for a one-day induction to learn about current fire behavior, fuels, and weather conditions. Upon completion of the orientation, they will be assigned to large fires.

The request includes 15 Division Supervisors; 15 Task Force/Strike Team Leaders; 15 Helicopter Managers; 10 Heavy Equipment Bosses; 10 Safety Officers; 4 Regional Liaison Officers; and two National Liaison Officers.  Fifteen of the total are from New Zealand. Assistance from Australia and New Zealand is a good fit primarily because their fire organizations are very similar to the United States national fire organization in training requirements and structure.

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire. Google+

5 thoughts on “Firefighters from New Zealand and Australia to assist with wildfires in the U.S.”

  1. We are residents in whitefish and in 2007 were asked to help house fire fighters. Can we help?
    Thanks. Charlie Collins. 6504003668

  2. Goooooood news on the DownUnder resources imported up here. They were just invaluable on the Biscuit Fire and other incidents in 2002 and are a pleasure to work with. (And the USFS people actually learned a thing or three from them in ’02 and other years.) GLAD TO SEE we’ve got some skilled resources inbound here!

  3. In 2000 in Montana I worked with a fella from Auz. I was a Divs. in a timber fire. His assigned role was as a Branch Director, but he actually had a USFS Branch Director over him. The Auzie followed me around as I went about my business. He asked questions but never got in the way or made any changes in my operations. This was early in his assignment and I feel he was trying to get the feel for what was being done and who was doing it. I saw him for a few days and then never saw or heard from him again.

  4. We use AIIMS (Australasian Inter-Service Incident Management System) over here in OZ. It was derived from your NIIMS. That explains the ability for crews to slot into positions each way.

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