The Andrews Labor Government is giving Victoria’s summer firefighting armoury another big boost, with aerial night-vision technology set to become a permanent, statewide resource.
Acting Minister for Emergency Services Gayle Tierney today announced after-dark water bombing would be rolled out in time for next summer’s fire season. It’s another example Victoria is one of the world’s most innovative leaders when it comes to keeping communities safe from the threat of fire.
Earlier this year, the Labor Government launched a trial out of Ballarat Airport involving two aircraft, where one conducted reconnaissance flights during the day, and another collected water to drop on a series of controlled fires and targets after dark.
The cutting-edge firefighting method involves the use of night-vision goggles to aid pilots, ensuring authorities are fighting fire fronts around the clock.
The Victorian-first trial will now be extended to all corners of the state, with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority approving operators Coulson Aviation and Kestrel Aviation to implement the innovative practice permanently.
Emergency Management Victoria will work with the operators on how night-time water bombing can be deployed alongside the suite of on-ground and aerial measures already employed to keep Victorians and their properties safe.
Last year, the Labor Government unveiled Victoria’s largest ever aerial-firefighting fleet to take to the skies and fight fires.
The record fleet of 49 aircraft includes fixed-wing and water-bombing aircraft, as well as aircraft used specifically for air supervision and aerial intelligence.
Victoria is the only state in Australia to operate water-bombing aircraft as an immediate response or a pre-determined dispatch, following a key recommendation of the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission.
Quotes attributable to Acting Minister for Emergency Services Gayle Tierney
“We’re delivering the latest, cutting-edge firefighting technology to keep Victorians safe from the threat of fire in time for next summer.”
“When fire strikes, every second counts. From next summer, our hardworking emergency services personnel will be able to fight fires around the clock.”
Quotes attributable to Emergency Management Commissioner Craig Lapsley
“This is an exciting milestone and will allow us to work through what it means to implement night firebombing before next summer.”
“We need to ensure we have the right systems in place that will support night firebombing to be a safe practice and that our crews in the air and on the ground are working together effectively.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020