HELPING HANDS: Northern Rivers RFS remote area fire fighters Tait Bedlington, Marcus Mantscheff, Shane Smallcombe and Shaun Green flew from Ballina to Tasmania to help battle more than 50 fires.
HELPING HANDS: Northern Rivers RFS remote area fire fighters Tait Bedlington, Marcus Mantscheff, Shane Smallcombe and Shaun Green flew from Ballina to Tasmania to help battle more than 50 fires. photo: contributed

Remote fire specialists fly to Tasmania to help with blazes

FOUR Rural Fire Service volunteers, who specialise in remote area fire fighting, flew out of Ballina this morning to help tackle blazes sweeping across Tasmania.

RFS Northern Rivers operations manager, Inspector Daniel Ainsworth, said Tait Bedlington, Marcus Mantscheff, Shane Smallcombe and Shaun Green will spend five days assisting the Tasmanian Fire Service to battle some of the many fires burning in remote country.

Insp Ainsworth said Northern Rivers Superintendent Boyd Townsend was already in Tasmania assisting authorities with his aerial mapping skills.

"There are more than 50-odd fires that are burning in remote country and the remote area fire fighters will be slugging it out in rugged and remote country to battle the blazes," he said.

"The fires are really spread out all over Tasmania and there are remote area fire fighters currently working on fires at Burnie, Cradle Mountain, Strathgordon and down near Hobart."

Insp Ainsworth said due to the terrain, remote area fire fighters were requested as they were specially trained to work in remote, rugged country in teams of four.

"Remote area fire fighters get winched in by a helicopter or they walk into remote areas, depending on the location," he said.

"Then they are on their own doing what we call dry fire fighting using the tools that they carry in.

"If they are in an accessible area, they have a helicopter to support them and conduct water bombing on target areas identified by the fire fighters."

Insp Ainsworth said tools carried by the fire fighters included chainsaws and blowers.

To become a remote area fire fighter volunteers must be an advanced fire fighter with three years' experience.



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