Aircraft and crews ready for bushfire season
TEN critical firefighting aircraft have arrived at airbases across the region ready to respond to fires in preparation for the peak bushfire season.
The aircraft, which includes two firefighting helicopters based at Ovens, will be used by Forest Fire Management Victoria (FFMVic) and the CFA to respond to bushfires this summer in the region and across the state if required.
“Aircraft are an essential tool in supporting ground crews to contain fires before they spread and impact communities,” FFMVic, assistant chief fire officer, Aaron Kennedy said.
“As soon as a fire is reported, an aircraft will be deployed at the same time as the fire trucks, giving firefighters a greater chance of limiting the size and spread in the early stages.
“Immediate response is one of the most effective ways to help stop the spread of fires and helps keep communities safe this bushfire season.”
There are 49 aircraft in the state’s base fleet, consisting of fixed wing planes, helicopters, air tankers and large air cranes that will be ready to respond to fires.
For the first time Victoria will have two night vision enabled aircraft joining the fleet, and one of them will be based at Mangalore, near Avenel.
“Night firebombing will be used as an extension of day operations, meaning aircraft will be able to assist ground crews on fires for longer when conditions are suitable,” Mr Kennedy said.
“The state’s aircraft fleet compliments on ground firefighters and heavy machinery as part of the number one priority to protect lives and property.
“This summer we are facing an increased risk of bushfires due to the underlying dryness on both public and private land. However, our region is well resourced and prepared to respond to bushfires.”
Aircraft will be based this summer at Ovens, Benalla, Mansfield, Shepparton, Mangalore and Albury.
The aircraft will also have the capacity to move to other locations depending on weather and bushfire risk.