Firefighting Aircraft Boost for Gippsland

Member for Eastern Victoria, Harriet Shing MP today welcomed addition firefighting resources as part of the roll out of Victoria’s firefighting aircraft fleet ahead of an expected busy fire season.

Today’s arrival at the Latrobe Valley airbase of a firebombing helicopter will add additional capacity in the region on top of the already positioned fixed-wing reconnaissance planes.

In addition, Gippsland will soon welcome the arrival of two more fixed-wing bombers based at Benambra to complement the two already in place at Bairnsdale, along with a light helicopter for reconnaissance work and a medium helicopter at Heyfield for transporting the rappellers.

There are 47 aircraft in the base fleet, consisting of fixed wing planes, helicopters, air tankers and large air cranes that will be available at various times and locations throughout the season. There are also over 100 aircraft available on a “call when needed” basis.

This fleet can be increased if needed, depending on the requirements, conditions and incidents.

Victoria is bracing for another busy bushfire season and aircraft are an essential tool in supporting ground crews to put fires out, or doing reconnaissance work to find out where fires are, their size and their spread.

Quotes attributable to Harriet Shing, MP:

“The arrival of these aircraft will increase our emergency service agencies’ capability as we brace ourselves for a challenging fire season,” Ms Shing said.

“The Andrews Labor Government has spent more than $20 million to secure the largest ever fleet of 47 aircraft this Summer, and they will be a vital part of our firefighting work across the entire region.”