Mid Coast RFS members Andrew Knox, Brett McMillen and Ty Saunders among firefighting personnel to battle blazes in United States

Ready for action: The Australian contingent of Rural Fire Service personnel before their flight to the US to battle bushfires. Photo: Rural Fire Service.
Ready for action: The Australian contingent of Rural Fire Service personnel before their flight to the US to battle bushfires. Photo: Rural Fire Service.

A trio of Mid Coast based NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) members have joined an Australian and New Zealand contingent to battle bushfires in the United States.

Andrew Knox, Brett McMillen and Ty Saunders were a part of the group that flew out of Sydney Airport on Friday, August 3.

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The group touched down in Idaho earlier this week for induction and briefing on the current situation. 

They will soon be deployed across 14 states such as Florida, Oregon, Colorado and Washington to assist with the battle to control more than 140 blazes. 

More than 100 personnel are attached to NSW RFS while 13 firefighters and specialists are from Fire and Rescue NSW.

NSW RFS Mid Coast district officer Stuart Robb said it is common for local RFS members to be involved in overseas firefighting operations.

“We always have at least one or two join the contingent,” Mr Robb said. 

“When they are sending more than one hundred people they need to spread it around so some areas aren’t left short.”

RFS Mid Coast District manager Superintendent Kam Baker told Manning River Times last year an advantage of utilising Australian firefighters in the northern hemisphere is due to a difference in seasons. 

We always have at least one or two join the contingent.

Stuart Robb, Rural Fire Service Mid Coast district officer

“Across the world we all fight forest fires the same.

"We all pretty much use the same techniques- our terminology might be a bit different but the basis is on the ground.

"At the end of the day, we're technically in winter- to go in the southern hemisphere we're in our off-fire season they're in their fire season,” he said. 

The fires have claimed the lives of several people, destroyed hundreds of homes and burnt thousands of hectares.