Victoria's aerial firefighting fleet to return to the skies

20 October 2020

A record 51 aircraft will hit Victorian skies to help fight fires and keep communities safe this summer season.  

The 2020-21 aircraft fleet includes a mix of water bombing aircraft, air supervision and air intelligence-gathering aircraft.  

Two Large Air Tankers, which can carry up to 15,000 litres of water, foam or retardant, and two 7500-litre Aircranes, will contribute to the 51 aircraft in the core-fleet and provide essential support to other aircraft across the state.   

Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp said the aircraft fleet is extremely effective in supporting ground crews to fight fires. 

“Over recent years, the Victorian fleet has been critical in stopping the spread of fire, providing immediate response in the early stages of a fire and supporting firefighters on the ground.”  

Firefighting aircraft were dispatched 2,046 times during 2019-20. 

“Our 51 aircraft will be strategically positioned across the state and work with our firefighters to help keep communities safe,” said Mr Crisp. 

The fleet includes a number of specialist night vision-enabled aircraft, which can conduct firebombing and intelligence operations after dark and has a surge capacity of up to 100 that can support the Victorian core fleet and be called upon when needed.  

Victoria’s emergency management sector is preparing for a normal fire season across the state. However, the location, timing and amount of spring rainfall is likely to affect fire potential in the western half of the state.   

Read more about the seasonal outlook for Victoria.