A LARGE aerial firefighter plane will be used in Victoria this summer for the first time.
The first state in Australia to trial the waterbombing plane - which can carry up to eight times the water or retardant of smaller firefighting aircraft - it is untrialled in Australian conditions.
Police and Emergency Services Minister Bob Cameron said large firefighting aircrafts can lay a continuous line of retardant or water 30 metres wide for 1.2 kilometres.
He said fire fighters would trial how the big machines can be used for immediate attack when a fire is small, their impact on a developing fire to help contain it, or for a control line on a going fire.
Mr Cameron said the National Aerial Firefighting Centre would run the procurement tender process and evaluate the trial, which will involve the Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre.
Minister for the Environment Gavin Jennings said that in addition to the 34 contracted aircraft, Victoria has access to a further 176 fixed wing aircraft and 38 rotary wing aircraft that are on the call when needed list.
“Fire fighting aircraft are one of our key weapons against bushfires. They can drop large amounts of water, suppressant foam and retardant to extinguish fires in hard-to-reach locations,” Mr Jennings said.
“During this coming fire season we will be trialling a new suppressant gel as an alternative or adjunct to the traditional use of foam and fire retardant slurries for firebombing.”
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