helicopter water bombing fire area

In a state first, Forest Fire Management Victoria (FFMVic) is set to install large water tanks in strategically placed remote forest locations for firebombing helicopters to refill their water stores during an emergency. The remote water access project is part of a ground-breaking $1.42 million project in northeast Victoria.

The increased access to water will reduce helicopter turnaround times, improving the effectiveness of firebombing operations with helicopters able to get water and foam on fire more quickly, increasing the chances of first attack success.

The Remote Water Access Project will see construction and installation of concrete water storage tanks feeding an open-top 25,000-litre concrete refill tank used for water refilling by firebombing helicopters.

The storage tanks will be installed in four locations across northeast Victoria and will be filled with permanent creeks, portable pumps or large tankers during the winter months to be ready for the summer fire season.

The first installation will be at Dunstans Road in the Upper Murray, followed by Mt Sarah and Kate’s Track Tea Tree Range, Mt Selwyn Creek area and Matlock.

Access to these secure water supplies by the FFMVic’s aerial fleet will help support the work of on-ground firefighters, machine operators and experienced contractors who rapidly respond to fires on public land.

The project will bring economic stimulus to regional communities through the employment of local supplies and contractors.

Funding is part of the Victorian Government’s Building Works package, which delivered $129 million to DELWP to support local communities and projects in bush fire affected areas to rebuild and update infrastructure and assets.