A 49-strong aerial firefighting fleet is in Victoria in time for summer.
Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp launched the state’s biggest-ever fleet, as well as the government’s summer-fire awareness campaign this week.
The 2018-19 fleet has expanded water-bombing ability, increased water capacity and upgrades to the existing aircraft models.
It features a mix of water-bombing helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft.
“Night firebombing in Victoria will be used as an extension of day operations, meaning aircraft will be able to assist ground crews on fires for longer. It will only be used in the right circumstances and on the right fires,” he said.
“The two large air tankers will be available to respond to fires in Victoria from Wednesday.
“Our aircrane Christine will be joined by Delilah, our second aircrane in mid-December.”
Mr Crisp said Victoria is well placed and resourced for what could be a long hot summer.
The Bushfire Natural Hazards CRC outlook indicates that Victoria will face an above normal fire season in East Gippsland and a normal fire season across the rest of the state.
“In Victoria we will have fires. Despite the rain, there is underlying dryness in some areas of our state and the Bureau of Meteorology has indicated Victoria is on track to have one of the 10 driest springs on record,” Mr Crisp said.
“On the weekend we had around 57 grassfires, and some of these were on a total fire ban day, which means that these were preventable fires if people had been attuned to the conditions.
“Victorians need to turn their mind to how fire will affect them this summer – think about where you are, what the conditions are like, what the fire danger rating is and importantly, and what you and your family will do in the event of fire.
Mr Crisp said it can be hard to plan for fire when you haven’t experienced it.
“However, this is about your safety and your own responsibility. The emergency management sector is prepared and we need the community to be as well,” he said.