Dannevirke firefighter Clayton Locke's experience of fighting one of New Zealand's biggest fires has seen him deployed to the Australian bush fires.

Locke is the Fire and Emergency New Zealand deputy rural fire chief for Wairarapa and Tararua.

He travelled to New South Wales yesterday for a 14-day deployment.

Locke had completed special firefighting training that saw him put on a national register.

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Fire and Emergency New Zealand deputy rural fire chief for Wairarapa and Tararua Clayton Locke has been deployed to Australia to fight the bush fires.
Fire and Emergency New Zealand deputy rural fire chief for Wairarapa and Tararua Clayton Locke has been deployed to Australia to fight the bush fires.

From this he was part of the team of firefighters who battled the Pigeon Valley blaze in Tasman District in February. The fire ripped through 2335ha, making it the largest fire in New Zealand in 64 years.

Principal rural fire officer Nick Pyatt said once FENZ was comfortable with a firefighter's ability to fight bush fires they were then placed on an international register.

"Deploying these firefighters has to be balanced against local needs and it was felt the time was right for Clayton to go as we are not quite into our rural fire season yet.

"It was also an opportunity to widen Clayton's experience."

The large wildfires have been raging in New South Wales and Queensland for 10 weeks.

The New Zealand contingent of five five-person crews and one strike team leader arrived in Sydney yesterday evening and from there will be deployed to fires around the state.

The New Zealand crews will be working 12-hour shifts for two five-day rotations.