Australia — ONE of the world’s largest water-bombing helicopters will be based in WA during this summer bush fire season. The Erickson Aircrane, nicknamed ‘Marty’, will be added to the aerial firefighting fleet, which includes six other water bombing helicopters.
Emergency Services Minister Troy Buswell said the expanded fleet would be based in Perth at a cost of $12.8 million.
“Firefighters face a challenging and demanding season and the Aircrane is a welcome addition to the state’s aerial fleet, supporting fire crews to protect local communities,” he said.
“This huge aircraft can drop up to 114,000 litres-an-hour, more than double that of the Type 1 water-bombers. It will be invaluable in protecting lives and homes.”
In the last financial year, helicopters were called into action 348 times to protect 300 properties.
Environment Minister Bill Marmion said Marty would play an important role in bushfire suppression. Its effectiveness would be assessed by DEC and FESA throughout the summer.
“It’s very reassuring for our fire fighting ground crews to know this massive aircraft is on call and ready to respond when called upon,” he said.