Victorian night firebombing approved for 2018-19 fire season | video

VICTORIA will have night firebombing operations during the 2018-19 fire season.

It comes after Emergency Management Victoria completed night firefighting trials earlier this year.

The authority this week announced the state had secured approval to conduct the new form of operations next summer.

The Australian-first trial at Ballarat in February aimed to demonstrate how helicopters could work at night to hover-fill and ground-fill from dams and other water supplies.

The helicopters dropped several loads of water into forest and on a series of controlled grassland burn-offs.

Emergency Management Victoria hailed the trial a success, and said it showed how night vision technology could help better protect Victorian communities in the future. 

Emergency Management commissioner Craig Lapsley said after the trial that night firefighting would be a game-changer.

“Currently we have to put aircraft on the ground about 8pm and can’t lift off until at least daylight,” he said.

“But being able to fly in to the early part of an evening when fires are still running hard, burning property and threatening communities will be a huge advantage for firefighters.

“And in the morning, getting out in the early part of the morning around 4am or 5am in the coolest part of the day if the fire is running gives us the best opportunity to be out there controlling it before the heat of the day sets in.”

Emergency services have been working on trial for about two years.

This story Night-time firefighting approved for this year first appeared on The Wimmera Mail-Times.

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