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International Mutual Aid to California: New Zealand Shows It’s a “Kiwi Thing to Do”

At the height of the wildfire siege across California, when 15 major fires burned, there were more than 13,000 firefighters from 18 states and two other countries battling the blazes. Those countries included Australia and New Zealand. 41 of those firefighters were deployed to the Mendocino Complex in Lake County, and 12 were assigned to the Carr Fire in Shasta County. Their roles varied and their value to the effort could not be understated. They brought a wealth of knowledge, experience and energy and will eventually return having gained a new understanding of firefighting environment, strategy and technology.

In this episode of All Hazards, we sit down with Chief Craig Cottrill, of the Wellington/Chatham Islands Fire and Emergency, New Zealand.  Hear about the challenges of being part of an international mutual aid team, the differences in how wildfires are tackled here versus New Zealand, from the technologies to the assets and strategies, as well as how Chief Cottrill manages his team and explains how Californians are similar to New Zealanders in adopting the “Kiwi thing to do.”

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Links

Mutual Aid Comes In From All Over State, Country & World For Largest Fire In California History

Governor Brown Issues Executive Order to Streamline Cleanup and Recovery in Communities Impacted by Wildfires

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Gorse (plant referenced by Craig Cottrill)

Shawn Boyd

Shawn Boyd joined Cal OES as a public information officer in 2014 after a 20-year career in television news as a reporter, anchor and executive producer. He's a Cal State Sacramento alum and former US Navy yeoman and Air Force brat.

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