A contingent of 33 Victorian emergency management personnel departed last Wednesday for a 21-day deployment to California to assist in managing the devastating fires in the north of the state.
The crew includes 20 firefighters, 12 divisional commanders and two senior liaison officers who are members of CFA and Forest Fire Management, which includes Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning and Parks Victoria members.
‘‘California has requested support from Victoria to the northern California fires that have already caused significant death, destruction and community displacement,’’ Victoria’s Emergency Management Commissioner Craig Lapsley said.
‘‘Our thoughts are with those who have experienced loss.
‘‘While Victoria is also coming in to summer, the Victorian firefighting crews have been sourced from areas across the state and this has been carefully considered to ensure this small but important deployment does not impact on Victoria’s response capability running up to summer.’’
There are 27 personnel from Forest Fire Management Victoria, including three from Benalla.
Ben Cook and Felicity Wardlaw will be on the fire ground in California, while David Ross will be there as a sector commander.
Victoria remains focused on being well prepared and resourced to manage the planning and response to incidents and emergencies around the state.
Victoria has a strong and ongoing relationship with California, in particular CalOES and CalFire. An agreement to support this has been in place with the Californian Governor’s Office of Emergency Services since July 2015.
This partnership allows the exchange of personnel, resources, knowledge, skill, and mutual support in the event of an emergency.