Firefighter Corporal Tony Morris's first overseas assignment is likely to be a challenging one, in Canada to help contain the massive wildfires in British Columbia.
Morris, who grew up in Whanganui, is a senior firefighter at the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) Base Woodbourne.
He is one of six New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) firefighters sent to help combat the fires raging in Castlegar, a regional trade and transportation centre in British Columbia.
Three other NZDF firefighters are supporting the multinational effort to battle the fires in the northwestern part of the United States.
Morris said he was looking forward to contributing to the effort.
The deployment to Canada, which is expected to be for at least a month, is his first for an operation overseas since he became a firefighter in 2006.
"We like to help out. We are highly trained in all aspects of firefighting, have the skills required, and will do our best to make a difference," he said.
"It's a great opportunity for me to represent the Defence Force, learn new techniques, and gain experience that I can share with other personnel upon my return."
Morris served in the New Zealand Army's logistics unit for eight years until 2001. He enlisted in the RNZAF in 2005, after being encouraged by a friend who was a helicopter loadmaster in the RNZAF's No 3 Squadron.
"My father was a firefighter in Whanganui for 28 years, so he was very proud when I decided to follow in his footsteps. His work also instilled in me a public service mindset," Morris said.
"The other thing that I like about the firefighting trade is that we are a very close-knit team. You can't put out a fire on your own – you have to trust the person you are working with."
In Canada, authorities have recorded 1085 wildfires since the fire season began on April 1. They have burned more than 700 sq km of woodland.