By Mitchell Clarke
Bunyip bushfire victims have welcomed the unveiling of a record fleet of 50 firefighting aircraft as authorities prepare for a “busy” fire season.
Launched on Thursday 4 December, the fleet will include the return of two Air Tankers and two Aircranes and join fire-bombing aircraft, air supervision and air intelligence-gathering aircraft.
The tankers can carry up to 15,000 litres of water, foam or retardant each while the aircranes can carry up to 7500 litres.
Police and Emergency Services Minister Lisa Neville said the fleet will be critical to supporting firefighters across the state.
“With the return of two Large Air Tankers, a record air fleet and thousands of firefighters ready to respond, Victoria is more prepared than ever for the upcoming fire season,” Ms Neville said.
“Victoria’s largest-ever firefighting fleet will provide crucial support to our hard-working crews on the ground this summer, responding immediately to major incidents right across the state.”
While authorities state they’re “more prepared than ever”, residents living in bushfire prone areas are urged against complacency, Environment and Climate Change Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said.
“It’s vital that people across the state are prepared for the possibility of a bushfire – whether they’re at home, visiting family or friends or away on holidays,” Ms D’Ambrosio said.
The fire-bombing aircraft will continue to operate as immediate response or pre-determined dispatch in locations across Victoria.
Community Recovery Committee for the Bunyip Fire Complex chair Tony Fitzgerald said the announcement was a “great start”.
“The Community Recovery Committee was delighted to see the Andrews Government response to the coming Bushfire season by adding substantial additional air power to its fleet,” Mr Fitzgerald said.
“The CRC are firm in its position that the Federal and State Government must invest in proactive intervention strategies such as AirPower, satellite monitoring, science, forest management fuel reduction and a national coordinated response to bushfires.
“It’s a great start by the Andrews Government and we applaud this announcement.”
A Fire Danger Period has been issued from 1am on Monday 16 December across Cardinia Shire Council, City of Casey and Baw Baw Shire Council.
To ensure you’re planned and prepared for the threat of bushfire, visit www.vic.gov.au/knowfire.