Australia — A helicopter, which belonged to US property and casino mogul Donald Trump, is now based in Busselton as an aerial firefighter.
It will strengthen the volatile South West bushfire region.
Mr Trump in understood to have used the helicopter to ferry high-fliers to his casinos.
Vasse MLA, Troy Buswell, who inspected the helicopter at Busselton Regional Airport on the weekend, said the powerful helicopter would be based here to allow faster response times as the expanding holiday region faced an increase in bushfire threats this season.
Mr Buswell said between October 1 and December 20, 2009, the South West had experienced 43 more bushfires compared to the same time last season.
This helicopter already has a proven track record, after being used in Toodyay in what was the biggest loss of homes in a bushfire in Western Australia in nearly 50 years, he said.
Toodyay was a tragic example of how volatile bushfires can be and having this Type 1 based in Busselton shows the State Governments commitment to boosting community safety in the South West.
In this intense bushfire period the State Government is committed to protecting lives and property and we are pleased to provide this extra resource which will be managed by FESA, he said.
It is the second Type 1 to be based in WA this season.
The huge helicopter is capable of dropping nearly 4000 litres of water per dump and can carry up to 15 firefighters with their equipment.
Each Type 1 costs $2.1 million to acquire and operate during the bushfire season.
Mr Buswell said given the identified high-risk communities in the South West, the Federal Government had joined forces with the State Government to provide funding for the additional Type 1 helicopter.
He said WAs total aerial firefighting fleet now included two Type 1 helicopters, four helitacs and an air intelligence helicopter operated by FESA.
The fleet also included eight fixed-win, water bombers operated by FESA and the Department of Environment and Conservation.