Tassie firefighters reach NSW firefront
TASMANIAN firefighters have been quick to help as New South Wales endures unprecedented bushfires that are ravaging the state.
Twenty seven Tasmanian Fire Service firefighters and 16 Parks and Wildlife crew boarded an Air force Hercules shortly after 5am Sunday on a direct route to Port Macquarie where they were met and thanked by Prime Minister Scott Morrison and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian.
They join the 40 other TFS, PWS and Sustainable Timbers Tasmania firefighters already deployed to fight the devastating NSW bushfires, which have claimed three lives and destroyed more than 150 homes.
Lenah Valley leading firefighter Belle Monk, who boarded the Hercules at Hobart Airport yesterday, said it was a rewarding feeling to help out the interstate crews.
"I think one of the main reasons Tassie officers get called to help at interstate fires is because we're one of the best trained and best fleets at addressing tall timber fires," she said.
Despite the feeling of reward, she said there was "an air of nervousness" as the crews braced to enter the fire line.
She said the Tasmanian fleet would stay in NSW until Saturday. Much of their tasks are expected to be backburning and structural triage during night hours.
Acting TFS deputy chief officer Shane Batt said it was important Tasmanian crews helped out at a time of need.
"I reflect back on 2016 and earlier this year when NSW crews aided Tasmanian officers during bushfires, and on both occasions sent over 1000 officers here," he said.
"It's really comforting to know that our state is there to help out anywhere in Australia that we're needed."
Mr Batt said the contingent of PWS firefighters who aided fatal burns victim Vivian Chaplain were due to return to Tasmania today.