Update on the U.S. firefighters deployed to Australia

Ion Worrell, an Australian friend, gave us an update on the U.S. firefighters that are deployed down under to assist with the fires in Victoria. It is easier to obtain information about this assignment from the other side of the world than from our own agencies.

Most of them have worked on fires in the Cann River area over the last three weeks. In between fires the 13 of them are working on a variety of projects at 9 locations around the state: Melbourne, Ballarat, Yallock, Colac, Bendigo, Traralgon, Alexandra, Woori Yallock, and Orbost. For example, Bob Lippincott and David Eaker are working on some Local Fire Management Plans at Woori Yallock. Here is an example of the planning process.

Deployed to Victoria, Australia:

  • Rod Bloms, U.S. Forest Service (USFS)
  • Shane Del Grosso, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USF&WS)
  • David Eaker, National Park Service
  • Jeff Gardetto, Bureau of Land Management (BLM)
  • Lynne Howard, USFS or USF&WS (?)
  • Jim Jaminet, interagency Fire Mgt. Officer
  • Allen Johnson, USFS
  • Yvonne Jones, Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA)
  • Bob Lippincott, USFS
  • Noel Livingston, USFS
  • Rocky Oplinger, USFS
  • Mark Struble, BLM
  • Ron Woychak, BLM
Thanks Ion

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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.

9 thoughts on “Update on the U.S. firefighters deployed to Australia”

  1. Does anyone know about getting hired on to work as a firefighter for an agency in Australia? I am moving there in September and am currently red card certified and am working as a firefighter in Colorado

  2. The 2 Canadians that went with the 1st group of North American IMT staff were from the BC Forest Service…and were Jean Walters and Rob Krause….iy was there 2 nd trip down unde, they both went in 2007 for 6 weeks on a BC Forest Service 52 person Type 1 IMT.

    The 2nd group also has 2 folks from the BC Forest Service….Pete Laing and Chris Bjkorkford.

  3. I might add, that there two 30 day assignment details to AUS. right now, as the second 30 day group is being selected and will be going soon.

  4. When the once in a lifetime overseas deployment happens nearly YEARLY nowadays… and EACH time, it appears that the same folks get deployed over and over again…. Someone’s got to ask….

    What exactly is the PROCESS to become on of the “chosen ones”?… and the Intent behind providing an AU Exchange? Who is the “leader” providing Commanders Intent and making those sought after selections? AU or USA?

    1. There is a process in place. NWCG advertised 10 or so positions that NICC would keep as a running list for any International assignment. Every one on that list had to apply via their coordination center, and have an OFFICAL Passport. I understand that this will be done every year now. The memo on this process went out via the coordination centers to the agencies this past fall.I can not comment on how the selections are made on that list, but I was considered but I took my name off the list due to a detail I am on right now. Each GACC had imput to that list as to who they approved for an assignment. Hope this helps.


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