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Aussie firefighters set to fly over to California to help battle deadly blazes

Some of Australia’s best firefighters could soon be on their way to the other side of the world to battle fierce wildfires that devastated the US west coast.

Hundreds of thousands of Californians have been forced to flee their homes in recent days due to the blazes which have already destroyed 700 buildings and claimed six lives.   

Governor Gavin Newsom indicated he will ask Australia for help in fighting the devastating blazes already described as the worst in his state. 

Mr Newsom said on Saturday that Australia is home to ‘the world’s best wildfire fighters.’

NSW RFS firefighters would be well equipped to take on the anticipated request after the state experienced one of its worst bushfire seasons on record in 2019-2020. 

‘No formal request has been received but we believe one could be happening in the coming days,’ NSW RFS spokesman Inspector Ben Shepherd told Daily Mail Australia.

‘Once that request is received, then the details would have to be worked out with other states and whether any deployment would be affected by COVID-19 restrictions.’

He added a request would have to be reviewed by the Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council and Emergency Management Australia to decide how many firefighters can be deployed and from what agencies.

There are also restrictions as a result of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic to consider.

If the proposed request gets the green light it will be the first time NSW RFS firefighters have been deployed to the US.

‘We’ve sent management personnel to the US previously but not firefighters,’ Inspector Shepherd said.

The 2019-2020 bushfire season was one of the worst in Australian history, destroying an estimated 18.6 million hectares and almost 6,000 buildings including 2,779 homes.

The 33 lives lost included 25 in NSW, three in South Australia and five in Victoria.

Hundreds of US firefighters were deployed to Australia last summer.

Former US servicemen Ian McBeth, Paul Hudson and Rick DeMorgan Jr were killed when their large air tanker crashed south of Canberra.

Firefighters and aircraft from 10 states began arriving in California on Saturday to relieve exhausted firies who have spent the last week on the frontline.

Canada is also expected to receive a receive an request for assistance. 

‘We simply haven’t seen anything like this in many, many years,’ Governor Newsom told reporters.

‘These fires are stretching our resources, our personnel.’

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