Western Australia Minister for Emergency Services Troy Buswell
Western Australia Minister for Environment Bill Marmion
Massive Water Bomber Arrives In WA
Victor P Taffa
- The Erickson Aircrane will be operational in WA this summer
- State Govt’s $12.8 Million spend to secure a strong aerial fleet for bushfire season
Western Australian fire crews will be well-supported during the fire season with the arrival of one of the world’s biggest rotary water bombers the Erickson Aircrane which can drop up to 9,500 litres of water in a single load.
Emergency Services Minister Troy Buswell said the State Government acted on the advice of the Fire and Emergency Services Authority (FESA) and the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) to secure use of the biggest rotary water bomber to be stationed in WA.
“Firefighters face a challenging and demanding season and the aircrane is a welcome addition to the State’s aerial fleet, supporting fire crews to protect local communities.” Mr. Buswell said.
“This huge aircraft can drop up to 114,000 litres an hour, more than double that of the Type 1 water-bombers. It will be invaluable in protecting lives and homes.”
Mr. Buswell said the State had invested $12.8 Million to secure a large and diverse aerial fleet this summer. The investment was made in partnership with the Federal Government through the National Aerial Firefighting Centre.
“In 2010-11, the aerial fleet was activated 348 times and helped save more than 300 properties as well as protect local residents.” Mr. Buswell said.
“An aerial fleet can significantly reduce bushfire threat but homes are ultimately saved through the skills and experience of our volunteer and career firefighters working at ground level.”
Environment Minister Bill Marmion welcomed the arrival of the Erickson Aircrane and said it would play an important role in bushfire suppression.
“It’s very reassuring for our fire fighting ground crews to know this massive aircraft is on call and ready to respond when called upon.” Mr. Marmion said.
“DEC and FESA will trial the use of this aircraft over the fire season to evaluate the effectiveness of the larger aircraft and how it operates in local conditions.”
- The aircrane, nicknamed ‘Marty,’ delivers almost 114,000 litres of foam mix, retardant or water an hour
- WA’s aerial fire fighting fleet includes the aircrane; two Type 1 water bombers (4,000 litres per load); four Helitacs (1,000 litres per load); eight fixed-wing water bombers; an aerial intelligence helicopter; two ignition and one air attack aircraft; and nine fire spotting planes
- In 2010-11 the fleet released nearly four million litres of water and foam on bushfires throughout the State in nearly 2,800 drops