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.”