Hi-tech eye in the sky to keep firefighters informed this summer

Ian Bushnell 29 December 2018

The light helicopter is fitted with a new infrared camera to provide critical fire line and hot spot information to the ESA Incident Management Teams in real time. Photo: Supplied.

The Canberra region will have an eye in the sky providing critical information to firefighters this summer, with the contracting of a light helicopter fitted with specialist technology.

It is one of two helicopters that will be stationed at the ACT Rural Fire Service (RFS) Helibase, with a medium chopper to provide aerial firefighting services.

Minister for Police and Emergency Services Mick Gentleman and ACT Emergency Services Agency Commissioner Dominic Lane said the light helicopter with cutting-edge Specialist Intelligence Gathering (SIG) capabilities would be available to the RFS for the first time this summer.

The ACT Government has contracted the helicopters through the National Aerial Firefighting Centre (NAFC).

The SIG capable light helicopter will allow for live video streaming and spatial data collection of fires. A new infrared camera will provide critical fire line and hotspot information to the ESA Incident Management Teams in real time.

The helicopters bolster the ACT’s resources for the bushfire season, complementing the recently announced Fire Bombing Air Base and Large Air Tanker.

Mr Gentleman urged ACT residents not to be complacent, particularly those in bushfire prone areas.

“I encourage Canberrans to be bushfire ready and to ensure you have a bushfire survival plan in place,” he said.

Start your plan on the ESA website: www.esa.act.gov.au.

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