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New Fire Planes for NE

New Fire Planes for NE

Forest Fire Management determined to be ready ahead of bushfire season

The North East is the home of an increased air fleet to help Forest Fire Management Victoria (FFMVic) fight any blazes.

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Eleven aircraft have been added to the fleet of fire-fighting planes in the area, to ensure the region is properly protected ahead of summer.

The aircraft will be based at Benalla, Mansfield, Shepparton, Mangalore, Ovens and Albury, and used by both FFMVic and the CFA.

Preparations are well underway for the bushfire season, with fire lookout observers operational, and firefighters making sure tracks are clear.

But Acting Deputy Chief Fire Officer Jarrod Hayse says having these 11 new aircraft ready to go is vital.

"When a fire starts we can respond quickly to support firefighters on the ground," he explains.

"Depending on the fire risk, these aircraft are airborne within 15 minutes. Early detection and early response to those fires keeps them small and protects life and property."

The fleet will be operated by local pilots, as well as others from around the country and from overseas, all of whom have extensive experience in fighting fires.

Depending on weather and bushfire risk, the aircraft will also be able to move to other locations.

Officer Hayse says he is hoping that increased rainfall means they won't be needed nearly as much this year.

"We're moving into early summer, and I know that by November 21st last year the region already had large fires. But things are looking a lot better than they were last year."

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