The heat is about to go way up for Whanganui self-employed plumber and gasfitter Jesse Simkin.

Simkin, who is also a volunteer rural firefighter, left on Friday as part of a New Zealand deployment of 21 personnel to Queensland to support firefighting efforts in that state where nearly 60 wildfires are burning.

New Zealand crews are also helping to fight the bush fires in New South Wales.

Simkin is on a two-week rotation that will relieve the New Zealand crew currently in Queensland and due back on Sunday. Another Whanganui rural firefighter Andy Simons - coincidentally also a self-employed plumber and gasfitter - is part of that crew.


Simkin has been a member of the rural fire crew in Whanganui for about three years and this will be his first overseas deployment.

"I got into rural fire because I wanted to volunteer - it was word of mouth and it had always taken my interest," he said.

"I'm an outdoors person, into hunting and fishing, so it's an extension of that.

"I'm looking forward to the deployment. It's a bit of a challenge and it will be a bit of a learning curve on the job but I've had good amounts of experience around here in the last few years."

Gavin Pryce, acting principal rural fire officer for Whanganui, Ruapehu and Taranaki, said Simkin was a member of one of two "three-packs" (teams of three firefighters) from the Whanganui and Taranaki region that travelled to Queensland on Friday along with teams from other areas.

The firefighters will work for five days, have one day off and then work another five days before returning to New Zealand.

Pryce said he expected the district would provide more support to Australia in the coming months, with the worst of the summer still ahead.

"As a large district, we have a large pool of volunteers to call on," Pryce said.