Western Australia's aerial firefighting fleet for the 2016-17 bushfire season has been strengthened with the arrival of the Erickson Aircrane water bomber ‘Georgia Peach’.
The Aircrane joins 21 other rotary and fixed-wing aircraft in the joint Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) and Department of Parks and Wildlife fleet.
Emergency Services Minister Joe Francis said the aerial fleet was a vital part of the State's firefighting capability.
"The aircraft do an amazing job. By getting to bushfires early to attack the flames, they make an enormous difference for firefighters on the ground," Mr Francis said.
"The severity and frequency of fires continues to increase in WA, with our aerial fleet dropping more than 28 million litres of suppressants last bushfire season."
DFES Deputy Commissioner Steve Fewster said the fleet includes the Erickson Aircrane, six Bell 214B Helitacs, eight fixed-wing water bombers, six air attack supervisor aircraft and an aerial intelligence helicopter.
“The aircraft are strategically located across the State and are based in Perth, Bunbury, Busselton, Manjimup and Albany,” Deputy Commissioner Fewster said.
“This season water bombers were also deployed to Esperance to provide extra coverage while farmers were harvesting.
“The aerial fleet and career and volunteer firefighters on the ground do all they can to assist the community, however everyone needs to play their part and be prepared – it’s a shared responsibility.”
The fleet is jointly funded by the State Government with $15 million, plus operating costs, and a Federal Government contribution of $2.9 million through the National Aerial Firefighting Centre.
For information about how to prepare and respond to bushfires, visit emergency.wa.gov.au