Aircraft ready for action

CFA Loddon Mallee regional Commander Scott Purdy, pilot Lochie Tremain-Hill and Forest Fire Management Victoria regional fire and emergency preparedness manager Carsten Nannestad with the water-bomber which landed in Bendigo last month for the start of the bushfire season.

Aerial support that will help Forest Fire Management Victoria and the CFA over the above average bushfire season ahead, landed in Bendigo late last month, with the two firefighting helicopters set to respond to fires across central Victoria over summer.

The Helitak 335 water bombing helicopter and Firebird 305 Airbus helicopter will be stationed at the Bendigo Airport this summer, to assist fire crews on the ground during emergency events across central Victoria, including the Central Goldfields Shire.

The firebird carries the air attack supervisor to coordinate the aerial tactical operation and the other, a water bomber which travels up to 260 km/h, carries a 2650 litre water tank and fills up in around 40 seconds.

FFMVic regional manager fire and emergency preparedness, Carsten Nannestad, said these helicopters are ideally suited for our conditions and have been based in Bendigo for several seasons.

“By using pre-determined dispatch arrangements, as soon as a fire is reported the helicopters are deployed at the same time as the fire trucks so we can hit the fire hard and fast giving firefighters a greater chance of limiting the size and spread of fires in the early stages,” Mr Nannestad said.

“Aircraft are particularly useful for fires in inaccessible areas where it could take vehicles some time to reach the fireground.

“The arrival of the aircraft with their fire-bombing capability is a significant contributor to our preparedness for bushfires.

For more on this story see Page 3 of The Advertiser, Tuesday, December 4

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