- McGowan Government has introduced a state-of-the art multispectral line scanner to State's aerial fleet
- Line scanner can quickly map large-scale bushfires, floods and potential marine hazards such as oil spills
- Sophisticated data gathered can make significant difference to emergency service response efforts
A new Beechcraft Super King Air plane with a sophisticated multispectral line scanner on board has been added to Western Australia's aerial firefighting fleet to further boost response capabilities.
The new aircraft is capable of reaching speeds of 450kmh and mapping multiple fires throughout Western Australia across a range of wavelengths including UV and thermal radiation.
The line scanner can conduct surveillance and mapping for fires, floods and marine incidents such as oil spills, and provide detailed images of emergencies with only seconds delay.
These images help emergency service crews on the ground or in the air to quickly identify areas of concern and allocate resources where they are most needed.
Last year, the line scanner was carried on board a Learjet plane with Federal Government funding assistance. The Federal Government did not continue the funding this year and the State Government has instead contracted a different plane and line scanner for 90 days.
The new plane complements the State's existing aerial firefighting fleet, which consists of up to 34 rotary and fixed-wing suppression aircraft and is managed by the Department of Fire and Emergency Services and the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions.
Comments attributed to Emergency Services Minister Francis Logan:
"Increasingly our emergency services are becoming more and more sophisticated in how they respond to incidents such as bushfires.
"The ability to map a fire across a wide range of wavelengths to provide information on hot spots, wind direction, fire shape and the terrain can make a significant difference in how crews respond to a fire and how best to try to keep personnel safe.
"This year the State Government has invested in a Beechcraft Super King Air plane that is capable of reaching 450kmh and carries a multispectral line scanner to give our crews more information quickly and efficiently.
"We had hoped that the Federal Government would continue its funding support from last year, which meant the State had a Learjet plane which could reach 700kmh and cover more parts of the State more quickly.
"However, this Super King can still operate at night, unlike other aircraft in the fleet, and can still access much of the State.
"Although our eyes in the sky can play a vital role in managing bushfires, it is still crucial that the community knows what to do when fire threatens their lives and property.
"Visit firechat.wa.gov.au today to create your bushfire plan."
Minister's office - 6552 6300