The State Government will invest more than $6.25million for additional specialised fire fighting equipment to protect local communities during the bushfire season.
Emergency Services Minister Rob Johnson and Environment Minister Bill Marmion announced the Liberal-National Government had secured a massive new Erikson Skycrane water bomber known as the ‘Elvis.’
The aircraft is capable of dropping 9,500 litres of water in a single load, which is more than double the amount of the Type 1 water bombers and nine times the amount of the smaller Helitac water bombers.
Mr Johnson said the Government would also purchase additional fire fighting appliances and equipment to ensure Western Australian firefighters were well supported and resourced to protect lives and property during the bushfire season.
“The ‘Elvis’ will play a key role in protecting homes located in the urban and rural interface such as the Perth Hills, which are at high risk of bushfire,” he said.
“The funding to purchase five new fire appliances and re-equip four appliances as part of a roving standby fleet will support career and volunteers firefighters in the metropolitan area, as well as in the North-West and South-West of the State, depending on the fire season.
“While the use of this aircraft and new appliances will reduce the fire risk to life and property, the community must also take responsibility and ensure their properties are well prepared and they have a survival plan.”
Mr Marmion said the trial of the Erikson Skycrane was a welcome boost in bushfire suppression this season and would allow the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) and Fire and Emergency Services Authority (FESA) to evaluate the effectiveness of the larger aircraft.
“This aircraft will enhance our aerial fleet in its key role to support our ground crews to protect lives and property and will ensure we are better equipped to respond to major bushfires,” he said.
“In addition, DEC also maintains a specialised fleet of trucks, heavy equipment and fire spotter aircraft, as well as extensive networks of roads, tracks and bridges, water sources, lookout towers and communications, which are all vital in bushfire suppression and mitigation efforts.”
$3.8million will be spent to bring the ‘Elvis’ to WA in early December
The State’s existing aerial fleet includes two Type 1 waterbombers (4,000 litres); four Helitac waterbombers (1,000 litres); eight fixed wing (3,000 litres); nine spotter aircraft; and an aerial intelligence helicopter
Emergency Services Minister’s office - 9222 9211
Environment Minster’s office - 9220 5000