3 Mar 2009

Change of plans for NZ firefighters in Victoria

11:01 am on 3 March 2009

Bushfire conditions have forced a change of plans for New Zealand firefighters in Victoria.

Gale winds of up to 150km per hour are forecast for Tuesday.

More than 300 schools are closed for the day.

Team leader Kevin Ihaka says fires and falling trees mean it's not considered safe to be in the forest and they will be staged around the community instead.

A second contingent from New Zealand will leave for Melbourne on Wednesday to help fight the bushfires.

Most of the original team will return home on Thursday.

Three New Zealand Police officers also flew out for Melbourne on Monday, to replace the original team of six who have been working on victim identification.