22 Jul 2008

NZ firefighters in action in California

6:26 am on 22 July 2008

Firefighters from New Zealand are now in the fight against wildfires in California.

Nine firefighters started work there at the weekend, after responding to a request for help from American authorities.

The Rural Fire Service says they're managing helicopters and fire crews of up to 120 people and will be working for 14 days, before having a brief break and starting another 14 days.

Nearly 2,000 fires were raging at one point in California after lightning strikes across the state on 20 June.

According to the governor's office, they are the largest since the state began recording statistics in 1936. However, the crisis is substantially smaller than an outbreak last October.