15 March, 2017
Victoria’s fleet of 48 specialist aircraft fleet have worked hard this summer season working alongside crews on the ground, to keep small fires small.
There has been almost 3000 fires across Victoria so far this season but no major fires.
Aircraft were dispatched 874 times between November and March and have been critical in stopping the spread of fire by providing immediate response in the early stages.
Pre-determined dispatch enables aircraft to respond to fires at the same time as fire trucks do and was expanded this season to include 27 aircraft at 19 locations.
Pre-determined dispatch has been a great success so far this summer season, with only 9000 hectares burnt, highlighting the benefits of getting on top of fires in the early stages to stop them from spreading.
The two Large Air Tankers (LATs) and the two orange Air-Cranes are Victoria’s strategic assets and are used across the state to provide support to the smaller aircraft in challenging conditions and at major fires.
The LATs have been deployed 18 times in Victoria this season while the intelligence-gathering helicopters have been dispatched 14 times.
Victoria also supported New South Wales across the weekend it experienced Code Red / Catastrophic Fire Danger Rating in the Hunter region. The two Large Air Tankers (LATs) operated in New South Wales from Dubbo and Richmond and worked alongside the New South Wales LAT and VLAT to achieve very effective aerial attack.
Large Air Tanker Hercules finished its contract in Victoria today and is on its way back home to Canada.
The two Air-Cranes have had their contracts extended until Thursday and Large Air Tanker RJ will be here until Friday to help fight the fires near Dargo in Gippsland.
An additional three firebombing aircraft have also been called in to assist with the Dargo fires and will continue to provide support as long as required.
Victoria will still have 36 aircraft available from Saturday to protect communities across the state, particularly with warm and dry conditions expected in March and April and the number will change based on risk.