Kiwi firefighters will be lending a hand to combat blazes in Tasmania.

Forty-three firefighters will fly out from Auckland and Christchurch tomorrow afternoon to begin a three-week deployment.

Nearly 80 fires are burning throughout Tasmania, most started by lightning strikes and fuelled by drought conditions and strong winds.

National Rural Fire Officer Kevin O'Connor said crews would initially concentrate on containing fires in World Heritage sites in the west and southwest of the island where the fire risk was extreme.


The group consists of eight five-member teams, plus three liaison staff. The teams come from rural fire authorities in Whangarei, Auckland, Rotorua, Nelson and Invercargill.

A Defence Force team and Department of Conservation team will also join the deployment -- the eleventh to Australia since 2001.

Forty-five rural firefighters returned from the country this week after battling fires along Victoria's southwest coast.