Air fleet assembled for 2016-17 bushfire season

The air crane dropping water at Cockburn Sound
The air crane dropping water at Cockburn Sound WA Parks and Wildlife

Western Australia's aerial firefighting fleet for the 2016-17 bushfire season has been strengthened with the arrival of the huge Erickson Aircrane water bomber.

Nicknamed 'Georgia Peach', the Aircrane joins 21 other rotary and fixed-wing aircraft in the joint Department of Fire and Emergency Services and Department of Parks and Wildlife fleet.

Emergency Services Minister Joe Francis said the aerial fleet was a vital part of the State's firefighting capability.

"The aircraft do an amazing job.  By getting to bushfires early to attack the flames, they make an enormous difference for firefighters on the ground," Mr Francis said.

"The severity and frequency of fires continues to increase in WA, with our aerial fleet dropping more than 28 million litres of suppressants last bushfire season."

Environment Minister Albert Jacob said the fleet was strategically located across the State with aircraft based in Perth, Bunbury, Busselton, Manjimup and Albany.

"The aerial fleet is also supported by Parks and Wildlife's six fixed-wing fire spotter aircraft and 11 fire towers, which provide early detection of fires," Mr Jacob said.

"Parks and Wildlife has carried out about 167,000 hectares of prescribed burning in the south-west since July to help mitigate bushfire risk."

The fleet is jointly funded by the State Government with $15 million, plus operating costs, and a Federal Government contribution of $2.9 million through the National Aerial Firefighting Centre.

 

Fact File

  • The fleet includes the Erickson Aircrane, six Bell 214B Helitacs, eight fixed-wing water bombers, six air attack supervisor aircraft and an aerial intelligence helicopter
  • This season water bombers were also deployed to Esperance
  • For information about how to prepare and respond to bushfires, visit http://www.emergency.wa.gov.au

Emergency Services Minister's office - 6552 6500

Environment Minister's office - 6552 5800