11 Jan 2013

NZ firefighters on front line in Tasmania

8:28 pm on 11 January 2013

New Zealand firefighters are continuing to fight on the front line of several blazes in the Tasmania.

Some Tasmanian firefighters were relieved by the two six-men crews on Friday as bushfires continue to blaze out of control in the Australian state.

The New Zealanders were briefed about the harsh conditions they would face when they arrived in the island state on Wednesday afternoon.

John Barnes, the rural fire manager and liaison in Tasmania, says they have been shocked by how dry it is and the enormity of the fires.

Mr Barnes says the New Zealand firefighters joined other crews on the front line tackling massive blazes near Hobart and Burnie on Friday morning.

They will work for the next five days before taking a break, and may be sent to the same or new fires afterwards.

Mr Barnes says the New Zealanders have met several people affected by the fires, and his crews have been welcomed with open arms by Tasmania residents and firefighters.