One lot of Northland firefighters have swung into action while another is expected to follow suit today as the battle continues against massive bush fires in New South Wales.
The deadly bush fires have claimed large swathes of farmland and bush in NSW and Queensland, with six people killed and more than 200 homes lost.
Five Whangarei-based firefighters that left as part of the Fire and Emergency New Zealand contingent on Sunday evening have completed their induction and are based in Port Macquarie, north of Sydney.
Greg Meeuwisson is the task force leader, Mike Ihaka the crew leader, while Mohi Kingi, Tama Hill and Dre Jacobson are part of the team.
Ten others left Monday and were having their induction at Coffs Harbour yesterday before heading to their fire camp at Grafton, south east of Brisbane, where they will work with Forestry Corp NSW.
Forest Protection Services' Mike Sullivan is helping out with induction of the group at Coffs Harbour and is expected to be back in Whangarei tonight.
Residents in some communities have some respite from the fires.
Northland woman Bonnie Callagher last week described 25-metre flames approaching the BIG4 Colonial Holiday Park she manages in Harrington, New South Wales as "like looking into the games of Hades".
Yesterday, she said the fires had calmed down but they were not out of the woods yet.
"The after-effects are kicking in now. There's still backburning and smoke and we can't go out today because of the conditions. Windows and doors are kept closed.
"Until we get some rain, the fires will continue to be a threat, although the immediate danger is gone. We're back to business as usual."
Callagher said hopefully all fires would be brought under control before the busy Christmas and New Year period as businesses in little seaside towns relied on visitors to survive.
The couple swung their emergency plan into action last week and made sure all 190 people in the park - including many permanent residents in homes for over-55s - were awake, aware of the situation and ready to go.
There's also water restrictions in Harrington but Callagher said their residents were educated on the need to use and preserve water.
Meanwhile, Northlanders and particularly those along the west coast have this week seen dust 2000km across the Tasman but that has not worried health officials.
The Northland District Health Board said it was guided by the Northland Regional Council whose air/dust monitoring equipment has not shown any results that would indicate any negative impact on air quality in the region.
The sprawling plume of smoke has been visible in the form of reddish sunsets, depending on the extent of cloud cover.
Niwa said this would happen until the fires were put out.
Since the prevailing wind direction was westerly, Niwa said smoke was blown eastbound toward New Zealand and some of it was even making it into New Caledonia and Vanuatu.