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New Zealand firefighters to help battle Canadian forest fires
Last Updated: 2015-07-10 13:00 | Xinhua
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A team of New Zealand firefighters will leave for Canada next week to help battle forest fires in the state of Alberta, New Zealand fire service officials said Friday.

Sixteen firefighters from New Zealand's rural fire authorities would leave Tuesday for what was expected to be a five-week deployment on the frontline of the fires, National Rural Fire Officer Kevin O'Connor said in a statement.

The deployment followed a request from the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre this week.

"Our people have a range of skills in high demand during lengthy firefighting operations," said O'Connor.

"These include logistics, planning, finance, ferrying supplies into remote locations and the use of aircraft."

About 800,000 hectares of forest are burning across the states of Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Colombia, as well as in neighbouring Alaska.

New Zealand last supported Canadian authorities in August 2009 during a serious outbreak of wildfires.

New Zealand firefighters have also helped their counterparts in Australia nine times and U.S. counterparts five times in the past 15 years.

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