CFA bolsters airborne fire defences for Bendigo region

BENDIGO will have greater airborne fire protection this summer. 

Two water-bombing helicopters and a plane will be placed in the region for the entire high fire risk period.

CFA district two operations manager Mark Gilmore said the medium-sized helicopter could refill from local dams. 

“They’re available for tactical use for us,” he said. 

“That’s an excellent outcome. 

“The chopper will have a slightly larger capacity than last season, more firebombing capability and can inject soap into the water to break down the surface tension. 

It can fill up on site and not go home, so it’s very handy.”

The fire danger period is approaching and residents have been warned to prepare their properties and enact bushfire plans. 

“Fire restrictions certainly won’t come in for at least two weeks, but it could be any time after that,” Mr Gilmore said. 

“It depends on how much the grassland dries out. 

“We’re monitoring it on a weekly basis and it’s relatively green at this stage, but if we get no rain and a couple of hot days the grassland curing goes back a long way.

“It’s also coming up to harvesting season which is always a big risk for us. 

“We’re encouraging people to do hourly checks of their equipment, get off, have a look and make sure nothing’s overheating.” 

Mr Gilmore said it was too early to tell if the fire risk would be higher than last year because that would be dictated by weather conditions.

The City of Greater Bendigo is holding two free green waste days at the Eaglehawk and Heathcote landfills this Saturday and Sunday and on November 24 and 25 to help residents clear their properties.

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