Eleven critical firefighting aircraft have arrived in north east Victoria and will be stationed at airbases across the region ready to respond to bushfires this summer.

The aircraft will be used by Forest Fire Management Victoria (FFMVic) and the CFA to respond to bushfires in the region and across the state if required.

FFMVic, Acting Deputy Chief Fire Officer, Jarrod Hayse said, “Aircraft play a critical role in our response to fires, supporting front line firefighters to contain bushfires before they grow and impact the community and the environment.

“As soon as a fire is reported, aircraft are deployed, giving on-ground firefighters the best chance of limiting the size and spread of the fire in the early stages.

“A fast, aggressive first attack is the most effective way to limit the impact of bushfires. Keeping fires small also makes it safer for our firefighters.

“The Pilots and Air Attack Supervisor are highly trained and very experienced. They know our landscape, fire behaviour and how to get the most out of aircraft. They communicate directly with ground crews to make sure that air and ground operations are well coordinated and effective.

“There are 51 aircraft in the state’s base fleet, consisting of fixed wing planes, helicopters, air tankers and large air cranes that will be ready to respond to fires.”

“The state’s aircraft fleet compliments on ground firefighters and heavy machinery as part of the number one priority to protect lives and property,” Mr Hayse said.

Last season FFMVic fire crews responded to 248 fires on public land with more than 87 percent being keep to under five hectares in north east Victoria.

“While the region has received significant rain during spring, the landscape won’t take long to dry out and if fires start, they will be challenging to contain. However, our region is well resourced and prepared to respond to bushfires.”

Aircraft will be based this summer at Benalla, Mansfield, Shepparton, Mangalore, Ovens and Albury. The aircraft will also have the capacity to move to other locations depending on weather and bushfire risk.

Page last updated: 15/12/20