Firefighters offer help to the Mallee region

A SPECIALISED crew of volunteer firefighters has been sent to assist with the fire effort in the state's Mallee region. 

About 19 volunteers from across central Victoria were expected to stay overnight at Rainbow yesterday before being deployed to Murrayville. 

MORE: No relief for firefighters in Mallee region 

Operations officer Steve Smith said the crews would drive vehicles called slip ons, which were especially designed to fight in areas larger trucks were unable to access.  

"We are trying to get into those areas where we haven't been able to get into with the bigger trucks," he said. 

"They have purposely been called for to go and do that sort of work." 

Mr Smith said crews would fight the fire as well as do blacking out work. 

"There is a lot of work to do to contain the fire but once it's contained there is still a lot of work to do so that it doesn't escape again," he said.

"The weather conditions are looking fairly favourable at the moment.

"It is going to be in the low 30s with light variable winds, Thursday it might pick up a bit but then it will calm down again by the weekend."

Mr Smith said some of the volunteers were on holidays while others had taken time off work to provide assistance. 

"Part of the motivation is that people from elsewhere in the state will return the favour if something else happens," he said. 

"Generally that is the case." 

"It's a good arrangement."

Mr Smith said without the work of local group officers it would be impossible to send firefighters to different areas of the state.  

"The guys go away and fight the fires but there are endless telephone calls and lots of work done behind the scenes to get them to this point."

The crew is expected to return Thursday lunchtime. 

Another 50 volunteers left Bendigo for Yaapeet near Hopetoun on Saturday. 

A group of Maldon firefighters travelled to Mildura to help with fire efforts in a limousine after a bus to Castlemaine was unavailable. 

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