Aircrafts a boost over summer

A CFS firebomber drops a load during the Emu Flat bushfire in February last year.
A CFS firebomber drops a load during the Emu Flat bushfire in February last year.

New aerial firefighting support has been a welcome addition so far this bushfire season.

In October last year the state government announced additional funding totaling $9 million over four years to boost Country Fire Services’ fleet of aircrafts from 17 to 26.

It was also announced that Hoyleton would become home to a new CFS aerial firefighting base to provide additional support to assist with bushfires.

Two firebombers, a tactical coordination helicopter and an intelligence helicopter are part of the fleet at the Mid North Primary Response Zone and have been dispatched when a fire has been called in.

So far this season there have been 26 activations of the fleet based at Hoyleton, with 32 drops undertaken.

Not all activations have resulted in drops.

CFS Regional Commander of Region 2 Brenton Hastie welcomed the addition of the aircrafts, saying they had already provided a boost.

“Having a fleet based at Hoyleton has been a great benefit for the region already,” Mr Hastie said.

“As we get further into summer and conditions become drier, the role of our aircraft will be crucial in supporting brigades and farm fire units on the ground, keeping communities in the Mid North safe.

“Knowing that we have a fleet on standby so close should assure the community that we are as prepared as we can be for this fire season.”

Most recently a grass fire near Auburn which spread from a truck carrying hay bales received aerial assistance from the bombers.

Water was dropped either side of the truck which allowed volunteers on the ground to quickly contain the blaze before it became out of control.

On the first day of summer last year a fire sparked by a lighting strike was promptly dealt with.

Air support was dispatched to assist with the fight however it was not used.

Fire bans have been issued for the Mid North this bushfire season as temperatures have soared over summer.

Last Thursday a total fire ban was issued for January 4 with conditions labelled as serve, while the region was on high alert as conditions were labelled as catastrophic on December 28. 

Temperatures were again expected to reach the high 30s towards the end of this week before a searing start next Monday with a forecast top of 42 degrees.