News & Media

Helitak worth its weight in grain

By: Carla Howard

Category: Operational Information, Vehicles / Equipment / Buildings

  12.53 PM 2 December, 2013

Location: District 18 News

Views: 2880

The medium helicopter stationed at Sea Lake District 18 has already proven its worth this harvest season.

Helitak 334 responded to two fires on Wednesday 27 November. The first was a stubble fire at Morton Plains near Birchip which was also responded to by ten tankers from nearby fire stations. 

“The helicopter was integral in getting a hold on this fire early,” said CFA District 18 Operations Manager Bill Johnstone. “It’s a vital tool for us to achieve the CFA mission of protecting lives and property in this part of the world.

“In the words of ground crews, 334 smashed this fire!”

After returning to Birchip to refuel, HT334 responded to a fire near Mitiamo.

“Again the helicopter supported ground crews in getting control of this fire,” said Mr Johnstone.

The incident nontroller at the Morton Plains fire was Deputy Group Officer Cameron Flowers.

“We’re thankful for the helicopter,” he said.  “This is an amazing improvement on what we can deliver as firefighters.  What would take us many more hours to control is done in a much shorter timeframe.

“It’s very reassuring to know that we can call on this resource to assist our ground crews in controlling fire, especially in the continuous cropping environment we have across vast areas of the Mallee, Wimmera and Millewa.”

“A huge benefit of the helicopter is that our volunteers on the ground can get back to what they were doing much quicker,” continued Bill Johnstone. 

“I continue to be overwhelmed by the response of our volunteers. They jump off harvesters to go to the aid of the community and their neighbours. It is an incredible ask, particularly when harvest is in full swing.”

Last Updated: 02 December 2013