New waterbombing jets ‘changing the equation’ in bushfire battle

New waterbombing jets ‘changing the equation’ in bushfire battle

02 November 2016

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Australia—  Modified passenger jets which can move around the country quickly could be used with increased effect against fires in Tasmanian wilderness areas, a Senate inquiry has heard.

Richard Adler, from the National Aerial Firefighter Centre, told the Senate Environment and Communications References Committee that Victoria and NSW had both trailed large converted DC-10 and C-130 Hercules aircraft capable of dumping huge amounts of fire retardant material.

“All four of those aircraft were used on Tasmanian fires,” Mr Adler said.

“It would take detailed studies to determine how effective they could be in Tasmania, but in other states they do add value.”
Large aircraft were used to battle Tasmania’s bushfire emergency earlier this year as blazes ripped through challenging and difficult to access terrain.

Mr Adler said such aircraft had not been very effective in the past, but a newer generation of faster aircraft with more capable drop systems were “changing the equation”.

He said the extra speed could also make it easier for firefighters to hit fires hard early, when they were still small. This was when aerial waterbombing could be most effective.

Mr Adler said the fact that such aircraft could move around so quickly meant it would make sense for such aircraft to be made available on a national basis.

Under questioning from Greens Senator Nick McKim, he said Federal Government funding for aerial resources, in forward estimates, was “largely static” and that was in real terms was a reduction, while the demands on aircraft services would inevitablely increase.

Winters have started approaching the northern region of India that also includes Delhi-NCR along with Punjab and Haryana. Due to this, minimums have also started dropping in many parts of North India including Delhi and NCR. In fact, as per the temperatures recorded on October 15 and October 17, the minimums ofDelhi and NCR went down to 17°C.

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As per experts, an increase in the pollution level normally occurs during the winter months. However, there are a few reasons that could enhance the pollution level in Delhi and the adjoining areas. The very first reason that can be attributed to an increase in pollution level in the national capital is crop fires in the neighboring state ofHaryana andPunjab.

These two states lie in northwest proximity of Delhi and normal pattern of winds during this season is northwesterly. These winds drag the smoke and fine particles of the burnt crop and mix them with Delhi’s atmosphere. Moreover, the temperatures also start dipping, therefore, the air near the earth’s surface tends to condense leading to formation of haze.

Whenever the winds are light or calm, these air pollutants get mixed with the haze or mist and forms a blanket of smoke haze which remains suspended for few hours in the mornings. Thereafter, the haze disappears as the sun rises and temperatures increases during the day.


But as the winter progresses in the month of December and January, the duration of haze, mist or fog gets extended and these pollutants remain suspended in the atmosphere for longer duration of time. Other factors including the smoke emitting from vehicles and factories and dust from construction sites also add to the rising pollution levels.

Sometimes this situation can continue for day’s altogether. However, relief is expected only when a strong Western Disturbance gives rain over the region. It is then that these pollutants settle down for a few days.

Another criterion which reduces the pollution levels is the strong and moderate dry winds from northwest or west which carry away these pollution particles. In a nutshell, it can be said that in October, intensity and duration of pollution remain less though increases in November as winters sets in.

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