“The Bell 412 helitanker carries 1400 litres of water and can refill in 40 seconds,” explains Operations Officer Joel Davey. “It can deploy within 15 minutes and really take the steam out of a fire before our ground crews put it out. It’s a great insurance policy when the grassfire risk is so high and the harvest machinery is working at all hours.”
Last year the helitanker was deployed as far afield as Bendigo while also responding to many fires closer to home base. It always responds alongside the fixed wing aircraft which has an air attack supervisor on board overseeing the air operations and playing a vital reconnaissance role.
Both aircraft will remain in Sea Lake until harvest ends in early January when it will move to Hamilton.