Americans and Canadians arrive to bolster firefighting efforts in east Gippsland

Members of a team comprising Americans and Canadians have arrived in the region.
Members of a team comprising Americans and Canadians have arrived in the region.

THE Bairnsdale Incident Control Centre has been bolstered by the arrival of a northern American taskforce to support Gippsland firefighting efforts.

The team of 11 incident management personnel, from the United States and Canada, have joined their Australian counterparts on a 35-day deployment.

Incident controller Peter West said the crew's arrival had been welcomed by everyone at the Bairnsdale Incident Control Centre.

"Incident management teams are responsible for the planning, operational, safety, logistical and community information matters related to an incident or emergency," he said.

"The American team joining us includes people with experience in resources, public information, aviation, logistics, operations, situation analysis and plant and machinery.

"We've now got a mix of Australians, Americans and Canadians working in our incident management team, which has brought some great ideas and learning opportunities.

"Our international colleagues have fitted into the team with great enthusiasm and provided a welcome boost around the office."

Incoming incident controller Ken Kempter said the incident management team was primarily from California, and was looking forward to assisting in any way needed.

"We are excited to help in any way and reciprocate the assistance we have received on fires from our comrades, both from Australia as well as the Canadians," he said.

"Back home, our primary purpose is wildfire response, however we respond to a wide range of national and international emergencies, including fire, floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes and tsunamis.

"We've been humbled by the kindness and integration of the teams we are joining, and the coordination between the agencies and all the countries assisting has been tremendous.

"There have already been some amazing opportunities to learn from our partners, and we're looking forward to the experience."

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