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Operation VIC FIRE ASSIST

28 February 2009
Defence continues cleanup

Army Reserve troops from Victoria joined Victoria Police in a more detailed search for bushfire victims in Kinglake on Thursday.

About 20 troops had been drawn to form search teams, predominantly from Melbourne’s infantry battalion, 5/6 RVR.

This second, more detailed search, follows preliminary searches immediately after Black Saturday. Many of the same soldiers had been involved in the earlier searches.

The troops had been given special training, and special protective equipment, for the task. Some buildings in the area are believed to contain asbestos.

Initial search efforts focused on burnt-out houses and other buildings in an area between Toolangi and Kinglake.

More than 100 fresh troops from interstate are expected to replace the local Reservists on Sunday.

Police have estimated that approximately 30 people are still unaccounted for in the wake of the bushfires.

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