Australia — The Adelaide Bank Rescue Helicopter serviceprovided by Australian Helicopters is prepared for a horror bushfire seasonboosting personnel and equipment to handle the expected extra workload.
Australian Helicopters Adelaide base manager David Andersonsays current fire conditions are the worst in 85 years.
As much as we all want a peaceful holiday season, thefacts show a different picture and we have to be on alert, Mr Anderson said
Theres every indication we may have something similarto the Ash Wednesday fires of 1983 where a series of over 100 bushfires killed75 people and destroyed 9000 homes.
On the 16th of February 1983 the fires moved across Victoriaand South Australia devastating everything in their path and leaving a damagebill of around $324 million dollars.
More than a million hectares were burnt during the summer of82/83. Very high temperatures of around 42°C with very low humidity of around6% combined with very strong wind gusts of around 100 km/h fanned the fires.
The Adelaide Bank Rescue Helicopter Service has recentlyprovided support to the visiting S64E Erickson Air-Crane brought to SouthAustralia by the Country Fire Service (CFS). The aircraft assisted with firesburning out of control in the Riverland, Clare Valley, Adelaide Hills andOnkaparinga Gorge, Mr Anderson said.
The CFS has reported that South Australia is coming out ofthe driest winter on record and there is the potential for a very active fireseason.
The areas of primary concern are heavily forested areasand thick scrub where the soil is very dry.
Australian Helicopters will be ready not only for firesbut the Christmas holiday season is always a time when Emergency Services haveto be ready for anything.