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NSW sends firefighters to Victoria to help boost numbers tackling the Morwell mine fire

On patrol: Fires continue to burn inside Morwell's open cut coal mine.

On patrol: Fires continue to burn inside Morwell's open cut coal mine. Source: News Limited

THIRTY NSW firefighters will arrive in Victoria today in a bid to increase crew numbers battling the Hazelwood open-cut mine fire.

Another 30 will arrive tomorrow and man metropolitan and regional fire stations to free up CFA career firefighters who will head to Gippsland to fight the mine fire.

Victoria’s Fire Services Commissioner Craig Lapsley said the NSW crews would bring specialist urban trucks for response to building fires, industrial fires, car fires and hazmat incidents.

“With potentially weeks of work ahead for firefighters in the Latrobe Valley, the ongoing support from interstate and international fire services is invaluable,” Mr Lapsley said.

FRNSW Commissioner Greg Mullins said more than 200 firefighters will be deployed to Victoria over the next two weeks.

“Firefighters in Victoria have been operating at a very high tempo for the past few weeks, fighting a number of large and intense bushfires,” he said.

He said NSW was happy to return the favour.

The Hazelwood fire is burning along a 3km length of an unused section of the open cut mine and is expected to burn for weeks.

The NSW firefighters will be stationed at Frankston, Patterson River, Dandenong, Traralgon, Morwell, Shepparton, Bendigo, Ballarat City, Corio and Geelong City.

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  • Mark Cummins of Joshua Texas USA Posted at 2:46 AM February 20, 2014

    Coal smoke in Australia. I have been fighting coal mine fires in the United States for the past 20 years. It is not the carbon monoxide that would be bothering me about breathing this coal smoke. Sadly they are not telling you about the really dangerous and deadly CARCINOGENS in the smoke. Most people will just notice minor health issues with the smoke exposure and think it will be over soon enough. But the cancer will take years to develop in the body so no one will expect the long term health problems caused by the coal smoke. You should document your being in this smoke and contact an environmental lawyer to protect your future health issues. Another problem will with the toxic water run-off caused by fighting the fire with water. Besides the toxic pollution of the ground water the wet coal piles will slowly degrade with microbes which will heat the coal to spontaneous combustion and you will live with this threat for many years to come. There is technology that extinguishes these coal fires with coal soaking foam that can also treat the coal with special microbes that breath the oxygen under the foam blanket and creates CO2 that kills the heating and cleans up the pollution.

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