Record Firefighting Fleet To Keep Victorians Safe

Victoria’s firefighting aircraft fleet will be bigger and better this coming fire season, thanks to the Andrews Labor Government.

Minister for Emergency Services James Merlino today announced $13.42 million to deliver Victoria’s largest ever firefighting fleet this summer. This will include two Large Air Tankers and two orange Air-Cranes which will operate as part of the super suite of 49 aircraft.

The fleet will also feature an additional water bombing helicopter, which will provide first response in the western and northern outer metropolitan area.

The Large Air Tankers can carry up to 15,000 litres of water, foam or retardant and are one of the most effective ways to stop the spread of fire, while the two orange Air-Cranes are able to carry 7,500 litres of water.

The firefighting aircraft fleet is strategically positioned across the state and will come online progressively, as the fire season risk increases.

The fleet is a mix of water bombing aircraft, fixed-wing and helicopters, with the remaining aircraft providing air supervision and intelligence gathering roles.

The majority of water-bombing aircraft will operate through pre-determined dispatch, which means they will respond to fires at the same time as firefighters on the ground.

The move last year to immediate response across Victoria has proven to be extremely successful in minimising the impacts of bush and grass fires on communities.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Emergency Services James Merlino

“We’re delivering Victoria’s largest ever firefighting fleet to keep Victorians safe this fire season.”

“Aircraft play a critical role supporting our firefighters on the ground and communities across Victoria will now be protected by the biggest and best firefighting aircraft fleet available.”

Quote attributable to Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio

“This aircraft fleet complements our record investment in firefighting resources, ensuring we are well prepared for the summer ahead.” 

Quotes attributable to Emergency Management Commissioner Craig Lapsley

“Our aircraft fleet has proven to be crucial in stopping the spread of fire, by providing immediate response in the early stages.”

“An additional helicopter based at Bacchus Marsh will provide better protection in the western and northern outer metropolitan area.”

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