Victoria Deputy Premier Peter Ryan
Victoria Minister for Bushfire Response Peter Ryan
Elvis Arrives For Aerial Firefighting
Victor P Taffa
‘Elvis’, the king of Victoria’s firefighting air fleet, made its grand arrival this week from the United States as Victoria continues its preparation for the summer fire season.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Bushfire Response Peter Ryan and the Chief Officer of the Department of Sustainability and Environment Ewan Waller inspected ‘Elvis’ and met with the air-crane’s ground crew and personnel at Essendon Airport today.
“Elvis provides a real boost to Victoria’s aerial firefighting capacity and will be used for fire detection, aerial reconnaissance and firebombing.” Mr. Ryan said.
“The highly versatile air-crane will be part of a fleet of 41 firefighting aircraft this fire season which also includes firebombing helicopters, air tankers and reconnaissance planes.”
“Elvis will be based at Essendon for the fire season with the remaining firefighting aircraft positioned in strategic locations to maximise their availability for fire agencies.”
Mr. Ryan said Elvis would be one of two Erickson air-cranes Victoria had contracted for use this fire season.
“Elvis will be joined next month by another air-crane, Marty, and they will both be dispatched to fires across the state.” Mr. Ryan said.
“The Erickson air-cranes are capable of carrying up to 9,000 litres of water or foam, and can reach cruising speeds of 200km/h.”
“Their tanks can be filled from a farm dam, reservoir or the ocean in a matter of seconds and their accuracy means they can provide quick and targeted protection for people, houses and assets during a fire.”
Mr. Ryan said while Elvis was the king of the skies, the real heroes were the individuals that made up Victoria’s emergency services.
“We are proud to support our emergency services personnel to ensure they have the resources they need to protect lives and property.” Mr. Ryan said.
“The Coalition Government will invest approximately $11 Million towards aircraft availability this fire season with additional resources available from the National Aerial Firefighting Centre.”