Ten aircraft ready to respond to fires

By Cobram Courier

Ten critical firefighting aircrafts have arrived in north-east Victoria and will be stationed at bases across the region, ready to respond to fires in preparation for the peak bushfire season.

The aircraft will be used by Forest Fire Management Victoria and the CFA to respond to bushfires in the region and across the state.

FFMVic assistant chief fire officer Aaron Kennedy said the aircrafts were 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,’’ he 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 aircrafts 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.’’

Mr Kennedy said north-east Victoria had never been better equipped to handle what was looming as a dangerous fire danger period due to dry conditions.

‘‘This summer we are facing an increased risk of bushfires due to the underlying dryness on both public and private land,’’ he said.

‘‘However, our region is well resourced and prepared to respond to bushfires.

‘‘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 aircrafts are based at Benalla, Mansfield, Shepparton, Mangalore, Ovens and Albury, but can move to other locations depending on weather and bushfire risk.