Local crews ready to tackle fires
The aircraft 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.
FFMVic, Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Aaron Kennedy said aircraft are an essential tool in supporting ground crews to contain fires before they spread and impact communities.
“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,” Mr Kennedy said.
“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 in our region 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.
“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,” he said.
Aircraft will be based this summer at Benalla, Mansfield, Shepparton, Mangalore, Ovens and Albury. The aircraft will also have the capacity to move to other locations depending on weather and bushfire risk.
Ten critical firefighting aircraft have arrived in north east Victoria and will be stationed at airbases across the region ready to respond to fires in preparation for the peak bushfire season.
Aircraft and crews were on show in December at the Shepparton Airport preparing take to the air in north east Victoria.