Lightning sparks fire
Aerial support not needed as ground crews contain Eldorado blaze
AERIAL water bombing support was turned back by CFA after eight firefighting units managed to contain a fire at Eldorado on Saturday.
The grass fire, believed to have been ignited by lightning, was called in at noon on Saturday and eventually burnt five to 10 hectares of land.
Wangaratta District 23 fire officer Trevor Ebbels said there was hardly any wind on Saturday and it would have been driven by fuel and to- pography - up slope.
“Firefighters must have got it under control quicker than they thought they would so the aircraft was turned back,” he said.
Several aircraft are on standby throughout the region over the fire danger period which is now active.
These include a light helicopter at Benalla, a medium helicopter at Ovens DELWP (1800 litres), a heavy helicopter at Mansfield (8000 litres), a six wing bomber at Mansfield (3000 litres), one at each of Mangalore and Shepparton, and two fixed wings at Benambra, which have a top speed of 260kph.
Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp said the aerial firefighting fleet this year is made up of 49 craft.
He said each year they have proven to be crucial in stopping the spread of fire, by providing immediate response in the early stages, supporting firefighters on the ground.
Victoria will continue to operate firefighting aircraft as immediate response or pre-determined dispatch in locations across the state.
“The capacity for immediate response across Victoria is extremely successful in minimising the impacts of bush and grass fires on communities,” Mr Crisp said.
“Immediate response using aircraft in early stages of a fire is one of the most effective ways to help stop the spread of fire and help to keep our communities safe.”
Mr Crisp said that aircraft would come online progressively as fire risk increases.
Victoria can also access around 100 additional aircraft as required, and can also share aerial resources from other states if needed.