- Giant aircrane returns to WA for bushfire season
- The 22 aircraft have a total water bombing capability of 48,600 litres
Western Australia's firefighting capability has been strengthened significantly with today's launch of its full aerial firefighting fleet, including the return of the giant Erickson Aircrane 'Georgia Peach'.
Emergency Services Minister Joe Francis said the fleet was expecting another busy season after last summer dropping 25.7 million litres of water and foam - twice the volume dropped the previous season.
"This is testament to the hard work of hundreds of personnel," Mr Francis said.
The Minister launched the fleet at Jandakot Airport with Commonwealth Assistant Minister for Health Ken Wyatt and WA Environment Minister Albert Jacob.
It includes 22 helicopters and fixed wing aircraft, including 10 aircraft provided through the National Aerial Firefighting Centre (NAFC) which co-ordinates the sharing of aerial firefighting resources between States and Territories during the fire season.
The Erickson Aircrane can carry 7,500 litres of water or foam, hover fill in 38 seconds, and can cruise at 212 kilometres per hour.
Mr Jacob said with another busy bushfire season expected, the Department of Parks and Wildlife has conducted prescribed burns over more than 130,000 hectares of land in south-west forests, national parks and reserves.
"This is an excellent achievement but I cannot stress enough how important it is that the whole community remains bushfire ready," he said.
For more information, visit http://www.areyouready.wa.gov.au
- Each season the WA Government allocates at least $20m for the aerial fleet plus operating costs, which are calculated at the end of the season
- The Federal Government has committed $2.9m for the 2015-16 aerial firefighting fleet
- The fleet includes the aircrane, six Bell 214B Helitacs, eight fixed wing water bomber aircraft, six Air Attack Supervisor aircraft, and one aerial intelligence helicopter
- The NAFC represents a co-operative national approach to disasters, providing specialised aircraft that might otherwise be out of reach for individual jurisdictions
- The Australian Government invests $14.8 million each year in the NAFC arrangements to support States and Territories and ensure Australians are protected by the best aerial firefighting aircraft possible
Emergency Services Minister's office - 6552 6500
Environment Minister's office - 6552 5800