Western Australia Minister for Emergency Services Troy Buswell
Aircrane Returns As The Weather Heats Up
Victor P Taffa
- $12.9 M aerial fleet ready to help fight fires this summer
The State’s aerial firefighting fleet is now complete with the arrival of the Erickson Aircrane for a second season to support Western Australian firefighters in combating bushfires.
Emergency Services Minister Troy Buswell welcomed the return of the aircrane to WA skies.
“We are doing everything we can to ensure West Australians are well protected this bushfire season and the aerial fleet is an essential part of our commitment.” Mr. Buswell said.
“With hot and dry weather forecast over the Christmas break, we have to get ready as a community to respond to bushfires this summer.”
“The State Government has invested in more firefighting resources than ever before, including $9.9 Million for the aerial fleet this season, to ensure that the fire and emergency services are well resourced and equipped.”
Already this season the aerial fleet has been deployed to 65 incidents, including the bushfires near Bremer Bay in the first week of December and a number of recent fires near the Perth metropolitan area.
“Firefighting aerial support has the important job of getting to a fire within the first 30 minutes and preventing it from escalating, which allows ground crews to get in and attack the fire.” the Minister said.
“They can also assist firefighting operations in inaccessible terrain.”
The aircrane has a number of unique capabilities, including loading seven tonnes of water from the ocean in eight seconds using a special sea snorkel. On a five minute turn-around basis the aircrane can drop 84,000 litres of water on a fire in an hour.
The fleet consists of the Erickson S64E Aircrane, two Type 1 Helitacs, four Type 3 Helitacs, eight fixed-wing firebombing aircraft and an aerial intelligence helicopter.
Investments in WA’s aerial firefighting fleet, which is co-ordinated through the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) and the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC), were made in partnership with the Federal Government through the National Aerial Firefighting Centre.
- The Liberal-National Government has provided the single biggest investment into the State’s fire and emergency services with the largest ever aerial fleet, the most fire stations in Western Australia’s history and more firefighters than ever before
- Federal Government has contributed $3 Million to the aerial fleet