Water bomber move worth considering

THE Cleve District Council’s suggestion to the CFS to relocate the firefighting aircraft based on Eyre Peninsula over the fire danger seasonfrom the Port Lincoln Airport to the more central site of Cummins is an interesting one.
Nanjing Night Net

The idea would be to increase the automatic drop zone – which is the area that automatically receives a bomber drop if a fire starts– to include land further north on the Eyre Peninsula.

At the moment a large portion of the bombers’ 70-nautical mile automatic drop zone is over the ocean, which does seemto be a waste.

The Cleve District Council’s chief executive officer Peter Arnold said the council was keento start a conversation with the CFS and while CFS chief officer Greg Nettleton is yet to provide a response it will be interesting to see if it is something that can be seriously considered.

Aerotech First Responseis the primary contractor for the provision of 16 aircraft services acrossSouth Australia to the CFS, including in Port Lincoln and Aerotech already has a base at Cummins for its agriculture services.

There may be logistical reasons why it would not work but it is certainly worth asking the question if it means a quicker response time to more areas of the Eyre Peninsula.

By air, Cummins is not too far from Port Lincoln so response times to areas around the city should not be significantly increased if the move went ahead and the response time would be quicker to the more rural areas where fires often start.

Fixed wing water bombing aircraft have been stationed at thePort Lincoln Airport during the fire danger season since the Wangary bushfire and over those years they have been a welcome addition to the Eyre Peninsula’s firefighting capacity, supporting the efforts of the volunteer firefighterson the ground.

Firefighting aircraft do notextinguish a bushfire alonebut they do provide important support.

As the main airport in the region, it initially seems to makesense to have the firefighting aircraft based at Port Lincoln Airport, however it is good to see people thinking outside the square and not assuming things have to be done a certain way just because that is the way they always have been done.

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