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WA’s firefighters take to the skies for the 2017-18 bushfire season

Water bomber, part of the State's aerial fleet.
Water bomber, part of the State's aerial fleet. Leigh Sage/DBCA

Western Australia's $21 million aerial firefighting fleet has been bolstered this bushfire season with the addition of a multipurpose helicopter and new multipurpose hangar.

Emergency Services Minister Fran Logan and Environment Minister Stephen Dawson today launched the State's aerial fleet and the new operations base in Jandakot for the 2017-18 bushfire season.

The new multipurpose hangar means the State's firefighting aviation services will operate under the one roof for the first time.

The new base will also provide storage for specialist rescue and hazmat incident response equipment that can be rapidly deployed by air.

The multipurpose helicopter can be used for water bombing, air attack supervision, heavy rescue, and transporting crews and equipment to natural disasters.

The joint Department of Fire and Emergency Services and the Department of Biodiversity Conservation and Attractions' aerial fleet consists of 28 rotary and fixed-wing suppression and aerial intelligence aircraft.

This includes the Erickson Aircrane, named Georgia Peach, which has returned to WA after a busy season in Greece fighting fires.

The fleet is jointly funded by the State and Federal governments through the National Aerial Firefighting Centre.

Comments attributed to Emergency Services Minister Fran Logan:

"The aerial fleet plays a significant role in supporting firefighting efforts across WA by quickly accessing areas that ground crews cannot reach.

"Aerial suppression allows firefighters to get closer to the fire front by reducing the rate of spread.

"The State Government is committed to supporting the aerial fleet and has allocated more than $21 million to ensure the fleet is ready to protect life and property throughout summer.

"Although the fleet is a significant asset, we must all improve our preparedness for bushfires.

"We have to reduce the risks and that means landowners have to be bushfire ready.

"Take the five-minute Fire Chat with your families on the DFES website and go through that check list to ensure you have a plan in place if a bushfire threatens."

Comments attributed to Environment Minister Stephen Dawson:

"Aerial bushfire suppression is an integral part of the State's firefighting capacity and the McGowan Labor Government is committed to funding and supporting the protection of WA's communities.

"We have provided an additional $5.5 million in the 2017-18 Budget and have been working hard to safely undertake as much prescribed burning across WA's south-west where possible, depending on weather conditions.

"Since July 1, 2017, the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions has undertaken almost 111,000 hectares of prescribed burning across its three south-west forest regions.

"This builds on the 247,000 hectares of prescribed burning it achieved in 2016-17, its best result in 29 years."

Last modified on Thursday, 21 December 2017 11:18