5 Jan 2016

New Zealanders fighting Aussie wildfires cut firebreaks on steep terrain

8:40 pm on 5 January 2016

A specialist team of New Zealanders - known as arduous firefighters - is cutting firebreaks on steep terrain to try to contain on of the Australian wildfires burning out-of-control.

The firefighters are in Victoria's Otway Ranges, battling to control the Wye River-Jamieson Track fire that destroyed 116 homes on Christmas Day.

Taskforce leader Mike Sullivan, from Whangarei, said the Australian bush brought different challenges - including more volatile fuels and the scale of the fireground.

His crew yesterday cut a narrow containment line in terrain that cannot be accessed by vehicle.

His crew expects to work on the Wye River fire for the next couple of weeks before being relieved by another contingent of 22 New Zealanders.