Forest Fire Management Victoria firefighters and Parks Victoria Wimmera people deployed to the United States

CREW: The Victorian crew at Tullamarine Airport on Thursday. Picture: CONTRIBUTED
CREW: The Victorian crew at Tullamarine Airport on Thursday. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

REGIONAL Forest Fire Management Victoria firefighters will assist with the “destructive and devastating” wildfires burning on the United States of America’s west coast.

Grampians-based Paul Fernando and Stuart Lardner along with Avoca-based John Moser will join the 188 Australian and New Zealand crew members who are being deployed to the USA.

Fire activity continues across 14 USA states, with about 140 large fires burning across 513,000 hectares of land.

Mr Moser started at FFMVic in 2001 as a project firefighter and now serves as a forest and fire operations officer.

“I’ll be working as a sector commander in America – a role that oversees a section of the fire and the resources available to fight it,” he said.   

“The Americans have assisted us previously, so this is a great opportunity for me to support our overseas friends and colleagues in their time of need. 

DEPLOYED: John Moser of Avoca will join the fire fight in America. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

DEPLOYED: John Moser of Avoca will join the fire fight in America. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

“I have experience fighting bushfires in many different parts of Victoria including the 2002-03 Big Desert fire, the 2009 Black Saturday fire in Myrtleford, various campaigns in Gippsland and of course bushfires close to home in the Pyrenees. 

“I’m eager to apply my skills overseas in a new environment and do what I can to assist. This is my first deployment overseas so I’m also keen to learn from their systems and bring that knowledge back to Victoria.”

Mr Fernando and Mr Lardner will join Mr Moser in the United States.

They are from Parks Victoria and their roles in the deployment will be as a divisional commander and sectional commander. 

Forest Fire Management Victoria acting assistant chief fire officer Peter Kambouris said Mr Lardner and Mr Fernando were part of 12 staff from Forest Fire Management to be deployed. 

“They will assist with the responsibility of the task force,” he said. 

Mr Kambouris said Australians would also be deployed to Canada. 

“Over 170 new wildfires have started in Canada,” he said. “They were caused mostly by lightning.

“Six people from the Grampians will be deployed to Canada to assist. They will leave approximately mid-next week.

“We are also mindful of the dry conditions in the Wimmera.”