NZME media consultant and volunteer firefighter Grant Marshall was holidaying in Te Puke when the call came that he was to be deployed to Australia to fight the fires.

It was December 30, and that night he was on a plane to Sydney via Melbourne.

Grant sent back a few "snaps of the deployment so far".

The pictures showed the haze at the location in Tumut, New South Wales.


"I've not seen a blue sky or the sun apart from an orange dot in the smoke since I arrived."

He doubts he will see the sun again while fighting the fires.

"The sheer size of the fire is unbelievable and it's growing so fast.

"We get containment lines in and work feverishly at times to protect them, and stop breaches, then the fire just decides to jump 300m or even 3km at times.

"Suddenly you're trying to extinguish it before it grows to something we just can't deal with.

"This has happened a number of times and then the fire line moves and another 15ha is gone.

"The smoke haze has been so bad we haven't been able to get air assets up which doesn't help.

"What gets me is the loss that many people have endured.


"I worked with a guy for a hour the other day who lost his house on New Year's Eve and he has not yet been back to sort it.

In Roy's words: "Mate what's the point, she's toast cobber so I'll stay here."