13 March 2018
Victoria’s night time aerial firebombing trial continued last week in Ballarat with a series of successful waterbombing tasks completed in the dark.
The trial has demonstrated how helicopters can work at night to hover-fill and ground-fill, before doing several water drops in the forest as well as on a series of controlled burns in grassland.
Emergency Management Commissioner Craig Lapsley said the trial had been hugely successful so far and showed how night vision technology could help to better protect Victorian communities in the future.
“This technology gives us more options to fight fires and protect communities, by extending the hours we can fight fires from the air,” he said.
“Establishing a safe system of work around night aerial firebombing is important and we are continuing to work through what that means and ensure we get the processes right.
“The next step is to establish operational procedures which connect the ground crews to work with aircraft at night.”
The Victorian-led trial which has a national focus, has run in two parts with two operators who each provide daytime firebombing services to Victoria.
CASA will continue to evaluate and assess the trial, and the outcome will guide the future use of night vision capability in Victoria.
The trial was led by EMV with CFA, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), National Aerial Firefighting Centre (NAFC) and Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) together with national and international operators.