New Firefighting Helicopter – The Border Watch

NEW HELICOPTER: An Écureuil B2 will come to the aid of firefighters this summer.

Green Triangle Timber Plantation Companies has invested in additional aerial firefighting capacity in the area to protect its plantation estate, natural environment and wider community during this fire season.

A B2 Squirrel helicopter has been contracted by the Green Triangle Fire Alliance (GTFA), supporting over 300 trained plantation industry firefighters working on the ground across the Green Triangle this summer.

The helicopter was contracted by the Victorian Government and is part of the Victorian Air Fleet.

The nine logging companies that are members of the GTFA finance its positioning at the Casterton aerodrome.

GTFA chief executive Anthony Walsh said the helicopter’s 1,000-litre bucket could draw water from a variety of sources close to the line of fire.

“This helicopter is very complementary to the fixed-wing incendiary bombers that operate in the region,” Walsh said.

“While fixed-wing bombers carry a larger load, the advantage of a helicopter is that it can find water near a fire, allowing for very short lead times.

“The helicopter has already been deployed twice, including providing valuable support during the recent Poolaijelo fire.

“Other aircraft may leave the area to attend fires elsewhere in the state, but this helicopter will remain at its base in Casterton for the 14-week duty period until the end of March.”

Mr Walsh said while operation of the helicopter was currently limited to Victoria, discussions were continuing with the South Australian Country Fire Service (CFS) to allow operation in the Limestone Coast area.

“We are extremely grateful for the support of the Victorian Department of Environment, Water, Land and Planning (DELWP) and the Country Fire Authority (CFA) in establishing the service,” he said. .

“We remain hopeful that the same level of protection afforded to our Victoria-based estate will soon extend to South Australia to allow operation across the entire Green Triangle plantation estate.”

The helicopter continues the industry’s significant investment in fire suppression resources.

The Green Triangle plantation industry collectively has 100 fire apparatus with trained firefighters on standby, ready to respond quickly to fires throughout the fire season.

“This helicopter provides an extra layer of support to our Forest Industry Brigades who work tirelessly during the summer months to not only defend our forest estate, but to protect our communities at large, said Mr. Walsh.