New helicopter spotting fires early

Released 10/02/2019

The Canberra region is being protected by a firefighting helicopter with new detection technology that has already spotted several fires, enabling faster and more efficient response.

The ACT is contracting the light helicopter with Specialist Information Gathering (SIG) capability for the first time this bushfire season.

The recent Tidbinbilla and Mt Gingera fires were spotted by the SIG helicopter on a lightning detection run, enabling the ACT Rural Fire Service to respond quickly. Without this new capability, these fires may not have been detected until the next day when they were much larger.

The SIG provided real time mapping and intelligence during the recent Corin fire, quickly identifying areas for staging and refuelling to assist ground crews arriving at the remote location.

The ACT Government is continuing to invest into our Emergency Services to ensure the ACT is prepared and protected this bushfire season.

The helicopter uses an infrared camera to detect and map hot spot areas that can’t easily be seen from the ground. Hot spot identification reduces firefighter fatigue, water usage and helps manage the risk of re-ignition.

ACT Parks and Conservation has used the helicopter to protect our region from future fires by mapping hazard reduction locations, informing burn plans and monitoring vegetation growth.

This success has the helicopter in high demand from ACT and NSW fire agencies. It has so far assisted NSWRFS at fires in the Bredbo, Cooma, Kosciusko National Park and Tumut.

- Statement ends -

Section: Mick Gentleman, MLA | Media Releases

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