Firefighters have flown in a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) cargo plane to help fight fires on the NSW South Coast.
Twenty Fire and Rescue NSW personnel from stations between Grafton to Taree boarded the RAAF C-130 Hercules flight at Port Macquarie Airport on Sunday, January 5.
The firefighters are replacing exhausted Mid North Coast personnel crews already stationed on the South Coast.
NSW Mid North Coast zone commander Rodney Chetwynd said the crew is being sent to Merimbula on the south-west coast.
"We have 20 fire and rescue staff heading down to Merimbula. They are transferring with 20 staff we already have down there from the Mid North Coast," he said.
"We have people from Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour, Sawtell, Nambucca Heads, Wauchope, Forster and Wingham going on this flight.
"The new crew will be on a five day deployment until January 9. They will be down there and depending on the fire situation we will swap them again or bring them home."
Mr Chetwynd said this is first time he has seen firefighters carried by RAAF planes in 30 years of working with Fire and Rescue NSW.
"We send crews all over the state, interstate and overseas for humanitarian and disaster relief," he said.
"But I've been doing this for 30 years and it's definitely the first time we have sent firefighting crews on RAAF planes to NSW.
"It's definitely an unprecedented situation and something which is very unique. The crews are happy because they are received support from both metropolitan and regional areas during our bushfire crisis here in 2019.
"They feel like they are paying back and giving their South Coast colleagues some support. We are also really appreciative of the RAAF for assisting with the efforts."
Another crew of Mid North Coast firefighters stationed in the south-west coast is scheduled to return to Port Macquarie by RAAF aircraft at 4pm on January 6.
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