Aerial firefighting fleet brought on early to confront bushfire season


The Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) activated its aerial firefighting fleet earlier this year over concerns that Western Australia is on track to have an above-average bushfire season.

DFES and the Bureau of Meteorology are monitoring the key indicators which are all pointing to the threat of an early start to the bushfire season.

Emergency Services Minister Stephen Dawson said nine aircraft are being brought online earlier than in previous years and will be ready to respond.

An additional four rotary-wing aircraft, including two Black Hawk helicopters, are also on standby to start early if required.

Authorities are issuing an urgent call for the public to finalize their bushfire preparations as soon as possible and download the My Bushfire Plan app or go to mybushfireplan.wa.gov.au.

WA has recorded its hottest September since records began. Hot temperatures and low rainfall are expected to continue in the lead-up to summer and soil dryness readings across the Darling Scarp indicate that fuel is drying out at an earlier rate than previous years.

An emergency warning was issued for a bushfire in Corrigin last week, indicating that the warm and dry conditions are already elevating the fire risk across the southern part of WA.

The Cook Government-funded aerial fleet consists of more than 30 rotary and fixed-wing suppression and aerial intelligence aircraft and is jointly managed by DFES and the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation, and Attractions.

“The Cook Government is taking every measure to ensure we have the right resources in readiness to keep Western Australians safe this summer.

“We’re calling on the public to listen to the advice of emergency services – make sure you and your family are prepared before a bushfire strikes in your area.

“Our data indicates that not enough people have created a bushfire plan, which is inexcusable when you consider that more than 93 percent of the State is bushfire prone,” said Emergency Services Minister Stephen Dawson.

  
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