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Re(6): Bush Fires

Forest fires as well as in bush fires create their own intensity. The intensity of the fires in Australia is of no real difference to he US, however the Americans pour assets into the fire fight whereas we have 1 or 2 aircraft fighting the fires. E.g., We had one C130 when the RAAF carried out trials for the VIC Government. What can one aircraft accomplish in a big fire fight?

The methodology with the Americans is to hit the fire with any number of aircraft (C130) from a base setup nearby to service the aircraft with retardant and air. The Americans have (from my knowledge) a certain number of permanent air (fire) bases set up around the country with the ability to set up short term bases in other locations to reduce the transit time.

To see the way the Americans put their air assets to use during a big fire is something you need to see to understand. When we carried out the MAFFS training in Boise Idaho the Air National Guard were magnificent with the way they serviced aircraft to get them back on station.

Helicopters have the ability to pick up water from Dams or water ways but there are not too many in Australia, and can only carry small amounts compared to a fixed wing aircraft.

You have to also remember that the air asset can be used in other (non summer) times for humanitarian purposes. Our RAAF C130 after the fire season went back to Grunt support. Why would a civilian operation be any different. Set up for fires in Summer with the ability to rollout the equipment for other periods.

We require Australian owned and operated assets/ bases to provide support in all manner of emergency / humanitarian relief throughout the year. Just like the Americans. We should be able to learn from what has been set up and works. No need to reinvent the wheel.

The Commonwealth must take a Lead Role in the responsibility of every day Australians, including the Australians that live in States that are not so financially viable when it come to any kind of Emergency. We are a Commonwealth.


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