FIRE commanders have been told not to use dozens of new firefighting trucks unless they carry less water and have the spare tyre removed.
More than three weeks into the fire season, it has been revealed the 27 Ultra Light Tankers were manufactured with the wrong rear suspension springs.
CFA operations managers were warned about the restrictions on the vehicles in an email sent last Friday.
''As a result of this error, all ULTs must not be used until the spare tyre and 100 litres of water are removed from the tank,'' the directive from the CFA's Gary Weir stated.
The email also says that once mechanics have changed the suspension, the spare wheel can be replaced and the tank again filled to its maximum capacity.
Replacement springs are expected in the next two weeks.
The bungle follows reports in September that 55 new fire tankers were delivered to CFA stations at more than 100 kilograms above the recommended weight.
CFA spokesman Dan Connell said work to repair the Ultra Light Tankers started within hours of the problem being discovered.
''The trucks are not out of operational service; they are currently operating under a restricted payload,'' he said.
Opposition Leader Ted Baillieu said Premier John Brumby ''cannot be trusted'' to keep Victorians safe from bushfires.
''The Brumby Government is again leaving Victorians dangerously unprepared for the current bushfire season,'' he said.
But a spokesman for Emergency Services Minister Bob Cameron accused Mr Baillieu of trying to score cheap political points by undermining Victoria's fire agencies.
Meanwhile, the water bombing helicopter Elvis, which is capable of dropping 9000 litres of water, has arrived in Victoria in readiness for the bushfire season.
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