Three Alaskan-based firefighters have ditched the snow and joined a Northland crew as the fire risk rises in the region.
While their base at Tok in Alaska is currently minus 50C and "everyone is huddled up inside next to the fire", the professional firefighters are keen to get some experience with forest fires in New Zealand.
Their arrival comes just as total fire bans have been put in place in the Far North and there is a restriction on fires being lit in Whangarei and Kaipara.
Dalton Robinson, 19, and Peter MacManus, 25, landed on the last day that crews were labouring at Poutu to extinguish a fire that was sparked in a conservation area and spread into a forestry block.
The third team member, originally from the state of Montana, 27-year-old Kevin Kraatz joined them this week.
The firemen, who are part of the Tanana Chiefs Type 2 Initial Attack Fire Crew, are used to fighting blazes on a huge scale.
Mr Kraatz said the biggest forest fire he had been involved with covered an area of 257,380 hectares.
Together, they have worked on a fire that spread through 80,937 hectares of mainly black spruce.
The crew they work with can be dispatched anywhere in America and usually spend 14 days on site, which can be extended to 21 days if the blaze is big enough.
And while there are a few fires caused by arson, most were started by lightning.
When the crews were not in the heat of a fire, they were getting themselves physically fit for the rigours of battling blazes. Often they would have to walk into fires and that could be a hike of about seven hours - carrying all the equipment they needed.
The trio have joined Whangarei-based forestry business Fire Protection Services. Manager Kevin Ihaka said it was a chance meeting with an Alaskan team leader at a fire conference last August that sparked the idea of a firefighters' exchange.
Mr Ihaka said previous exchanges had been at a management level and it was great to get firefighters so other members of his Northland teams could pick up valuable tips.
Mr Kraatz and his mates say they are grateful to be here.
"This is a major opportunity to get an insight into international firefighting and a great chance to swap ideas."
Mr Ihaka said the men would be part of the forestry crews but would be pulled out to fight fires when needed. He was contacting other fire crews around the country to get them involved in any blazes that happened over summer.
While the landlocked firefighters are in Northland they are keen to get out on the ocean and catch a marlin, as well as a few waves.