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Army Reserve ‘chewing at the bit’ to assist with evacuations, fire recovery

More than 1000 army reservists have already been mobilised to help regular troops working on the bushfire recovery effort across NSW, Victoria and South Australia.

The Morrison government on Saturday announced up to 3000 reservists could be mobilised in the first compulsory call-up of reservists for disaster relief in Australia’s history.

Army Reserve engineers work alongside local contractors to clear bushfire-damaged trees.

Army Reserve engineers work alongside local contractors to clear bushfire-damaged trees.Credit:Department of Defence

Major-General Justin Ellwood, who is leading the military effort from Bungendore in southern NSW, said he had been consulting fire-hit communities and recovery efforts would be shaped by local priorities.

Support teams were working with emergency services to assist people in isolated communities across the vast firegrounds, he said. Two mobile teams, assisted by aircraft, would be operated out of Nowra on the NSW South Coast and Sale in Victoria’s Gippsland region offering logistics, infantry and engineering capabilities. A water purification unit with a capacity of 250,000 litres a day would be on Kangaroo Island in South Australia by Tuesday evening.

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