The region’s fire-fighting capacity has been significantly boosted with the establishment at Canberra Airport of a base for the deployment of large aircraft on fire-bombing missions.
The ACT Emergency Services Agency announced yesterday (3 December) the ACT’s first Fire Bombing Air Base where Large Air Tankers for bushfire suppression will be stationed during the summer.
Minister for Police and Emergency Services Mick Gentleman was joined by the ACT Emergency Services Agency Commissioner Dom Lane, NSW Rural Fire Service Assistant Commissioner Jason Heffernan and Canberra Airport Managing Director Stephen Byron to officially announce the ACT’s first Fire Bombing Air Base.
The Air Base will be able to store 60,000 litres of mixed retardant and fill Large Air Tankers with mixed fire retardant or gel depending on firefighting requirements.
Mr Gentleman said the NSW Government had contracted four Large Air Tankers and the commissioning of the Air Base was another significant initiative to ensure the ACT and NSW was bushfire-ready.
He said the Capital Airport Group had been instrumental in supporting the introduction of the Air Base and Large Air Tankers that would be stationed at the Canberra Airport during the fire season.
Canberra Airport Managing Director Stephen Byron said: “Canberra Airport serves a huge region. We are the only curfew-free airport between Melbourne and Brisbane so this facility can operate, uninterrupted, to protect the wider region and give the Canberra community the best support we can have during bush fire season.”
The addition of the Air Base will not only benefit the ACT region but boost available resources within NSW and Victorian Rural Fire Services to provide support and additional options for filling Large Air Tankers, minimising the need to travel longer distances to re-supply.
There will be 35 Air Base Operators and six Air Base Managers within the ACT who will undergo training to manage and run the Portable Air Base.