Defence in position for worsening fires

Steven Trask

The Australian Defence Force is positioning itself to respond to deteriorating bushfire conditions forecast for Victoria and South Australia early next week.

Defence Force national bushfire coordinator Major General Jake Ellwood says easing bushfire conditions have helped recovery efforts on Saturday.

"It's enabled us an opportunity to do the support work we needed to do," he told reporters.

"Conditions are expected to worsen again in South Australia and Victoria on the 14th and we will position ourself to respond to any contingencies that may arise."

Maj Gen Ellwood said 4000 litres of petrol and 10,800 litres of diesel was delivered to the fuel-starved coastal town of Mallacoota in Victoria on Saturday.

The Defence Force was hoping to enter Mallacoota by ground on Monday with refuelling vehicles, Maj Gen Ellwood said.

Defence Force helicopt

ers had also delivered supplies to Kangaroo Island, he added.

"Pending conditions are OK in NSW and Victoria it is our intention to position two Chinook helicopters on Kangaroo Island on Monday through to Wednesday for the more difficult conditions expected."

Thirty engineers from the New Zealand Army have arrived at Kangaroo Island to help with recovery efforts, while an engineering team of about 100 from Papua New Guinea will arrive in Australia on Sunday or Monday.

Fiji has also provided a platoon of engineers to work with Defence Force personnel in bushfire-ravaged areas in rural Victoria.

Additional supplies of fire retardant are being flown into Australia from the United States.

There were 2016 army reservists on duty on Sunday.