Whanganui rural firefighter Andrew Simons has flown to Australia to help fight bush fires in Queensland.

Whanganui acting principal rural fire officer Gavin Pryce said Simons was on a "12-day deposit" in the area where a state of emergency was declared across a broad area of the east coast on Monday.

"I dropped him at Whanganui Airport this morning [Tuesday] and he was going to attend a briefing in Auckland before flying to Brisbane."

"He will be assisting Queensland firefighters in the Sunshine Coast area where there were 59 fires at the last count I heard."


The New Zealand Government has sent 21 New Zealand firefighters to help fight the in Australia and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she had been in contact with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Tuesday.

Morrison said he was very grateful for the additional support.

"We have been exchanging a number of messages over what are devastating fires."

The New Zealand contingent of six three-person crews, consisting of two taskforce leaders and one liaison officer, will begin operations on Wednesday.

The firefighters are in addition to the six New Zealand personnel who have been helping fight fires in New South Wales.

Last year Pryce and Simons spent a gruelling five weeks fighting wildfires in Canada.

"We would drive a couple of hours in the morning, get to a staging area and either be flown in by helicopter or hike in for maybe an hour and a half, carrying all our gear," Pryce said.

The Whanganui firefighters were based in the southeast area of British Columbia, below the Rocky Mountains.


New Zealand has reciprocal arrangements with Australia, Canada, as well as the US.