4 December, 2018
Victoria’s summer aviation fleet was launched today, marked with a fly-over by one of the newest members of the fleet, Christine.
Christine, an orange Aircane, will join Hercules and Boomer, Victoria’s Large Air Tankers, to supplement the first-response aircraft around the state.
The 49-strong fleet includes a mix of water bombing, air supervision and aerial intelligence gathering aircraft. Twenty seven are helicopters and 22 are fixed wing aircraft.
For the first time Victoria will have two night vision enabled aircraft joining the fleet, which will be based at Ballarat and Mangalore.
Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp said Victoria was leading the way in aviation innovation with the use of night vision technology for firebombing and air intelligence gathering with aircraft and drones.
“Night firebombing in Victoria will be used as an extension of day operations, meaning aircraft will be able to assist ground crews on fires for longer. It will only be used in the right circumstances and on the right fires,” he said.
“The two Large Air Tankers will be available to respond to fires in Victoria from Wednesday. Our Aircrane Christine will be joined by Delilah, our second Aircrane in mid-December.”
Victoria is well placed and resourced for what could be a long hot summer. The Bushfire Natural Hazards CRC outlook indicates that Victoria will face an above normal fire season in East Gippsland and a normal fire season across the rest of the state.
“In Victoria we will have fires. Despite the rain, there is underlying dryness in some areas of our state and the Bureau of Meteorology has indicated Victoria is on track to have one of the 10 driest springs on record,” Mr Crisp said.
“On the weekend we had around 57 grassfires, and some of these were on a Total Fire Ban day, which means that these were preventable fires if people had been attuned to the conditions.
“Victorians need to turn their mind to how fire will affect them this summer – think about where you are, what the conditions are like, what the Fire Danger Rating is and importantly, and what you and your family will do in the event of fire.
“It can be hard to plan for fire when you haven't experienced it, however this is about your safety and your own responsibility. The emergency management sector is prepared and we need the community to be as well.”
Supplementing Victoria’s core fleet of 49, Victoria can call on up to 100 other aircraft. As part of the national aircraft arrangements, Victoria can also access aircraft from other states including NSW and SA-based aircraft when required and likewise, Victoria’s aircraft can operate interstate if it is required.