The latest addition to Victoria’s firebombing fleet is ready to hit the skies to support firefighting efforts across the state, to help keep communities safe this summer.
The new CH47 Chinook firefighting helicopter, capable of holding 11,000 litres of water, forms part of a 50-strong fleet, which has greater flexibility and firebombing capacity than ever before.
The fleet includes two Large Air Tankers (LATs), one of which is new to Victoria. The new LAT can travel faster and requires less room for take-off and landing than previous air tankers, making it more accessible to smaller regional airports and therefore more agile in responding to changing risks across the state.
These enhancements ensure a more modern helicopter and fixed wing fleet, with technically advanced systems, critical to supporting our firefighters on the ground.
Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp said the Chinook was the largest firefighting helicopter in the world, a very useful and important acquisition for Victoria.
“The Chinook forms part of the 50 aircraft fleet we have to support firefighters and keep communities safe,” he said.
“Our fleet includes a mix of firebombing aircraft, air supervision and air intelligence-gathering aircraft, a range of helicopters and fixed wing aircraft.
“It’s about having the flexibility in the fleet to deploy the right tool at the right time on the right fire.’’
Commissioner Crisp said aircraft had already been deployed almost 500 times in 2021-22, supporting firefighters at around 150 fires.
“Our aviation fleet has been tested just a few weeks ago with significant fires in the west of the state, at the South Australian border, in Mildura and on fires around metropolitan Melbourne.
“Aircraft provide a valuable resource, but it’s so important to acknowledge the team effort, and our firefighters on the ground.
“Our emergency services in Victoria are well and truly ready to respond to fires and other emergencies across the state. But the important piece is, what are you doing as members of the community to get ready?”
Victorians are reminded to never rely on one channel for emergency information. Connect to official sources of emergency information, including:
- VicEmergency app -·emergency.vic.gov.au
- Tune in to local emergency broadcasters such as ABC local radio, commercial and select community radio stations, or Sky News TV
- Phone the VicEmergency Hotline on 1800 226 226