6 February 2020
Over the last month Victoria’s two night firebombing helicopters have been dropping water on fires at night.
The latest night firebombing deployment saw helicopters work on a fire at Little Desert in the state’s west recently.
One of the state’s two helicopters conducted 15 drops totalling around 20,000 litres of water.
Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp said the deployment was a good opportunity to test the skills of pilots in real time and in remote country.
“Our helicopters also provide very valuable intelligence gathering and the team was able to detect spot fires outside the line crews were working on that otherwise wouldn’t have been picked up until daylight,” he said.
“This Little Desert deployment was a very successful mission and a great learning opportunity.”
The Little Desert deployment saw additional firebombing completed along already-placed retardant lines to minimise the spread of any further spot fires.
Night firebombing will occur on fires where it can add value to fire operations, or in circumstances where the experience can help build or improve the night firebombing capability.
Program Manager Nick Ryan said the trial also includes a research component, which will consider the physical and fatigue parameters of aircrew involved in night operations as well as the dynamics of multiagency resourcing of night operations.