FIREFIGHTERS from Hereford and Worcester Fire Service have said they are 'on call' should Australia need help fighting ‘catastrophic’ bushfires.

Although there is no immediate plan for firefighters from Worcestershire to be sent to Australia, the service's chief fire officer has said local firefighters will respond to any request for help.

The National Fire Chiefs Council has sent a group of fire specialists to Australia to see whether UK firefighters can help with the blazing bushfires.

The group will look at what type of support would be most useful, how long it may be required, and how it can help current efforts.

They will meet with local fire and local authorities to identify if UK Fire and Rescue Services could offer on-going support over the next few months.

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Nathan Travis, Chief Fire Officer of Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service said: “The visiting fire specialists will assess how the UK is best able to support our colleagues in Australia who are currently dealing with such overwhelming conditions. The group will consider what skills and expertise the UK can contribute to the massive effort required not just to fight the wildfires, but also to maintain the regular fire and rescue services needed throughout the country, by providing cover for the Australian crews who have been working tirelessly for so many weeks to try to end these catastrophic fires.

“While HWFRS have received no request yet, we will respond to any call to action made by the NFCC if our fire crews are able to provide Australian firefighters with any practical assistance. Our Service Vision is Saving More Lives and we are prepared to help our Australian colleagues and the communities they serve to do this, if required.”

If firefighters do go to Australia, the service said they would call on volunteers to ensure homes in Hereford and Worcester are covered.