HomeNewsRiver or runway? Water bombers blitz the Burnett

River or runway? Water bombers blitz the Burnett

bomber planes
Multiple bomber planes collect water from the Burnett River.

The Burnett River is doubling as a runway as water bombers queue to refill while deployed to combat bushfires in the region.

Of almost 160 firefighting planes in Australia, the Burnett River is currently hosting a fleet of air tractor AT802F and air tractor AT802F Fireboss aircraft.

Sharon residents Ray and Vicki Lyons have had a front row seat to the nightly event, with their cameras at the ready.

Although like clockwork now, Ray Lyons said the first time the bomber planes roared over his roof came as quite a surprise.

“At first I thought he was just going to land, then it dawned on me what they were,” he said.

“I’d seen them on the news dumping water and realised they were filling up.

“It’s insane when you see them lined up one behind the other coming in, three at a time.”

The AT802F aircraft size, agility and pinpoint accuracy sees the water bomber planes take flight in situations where other firefighting aircraft can't.

Within five minutes, an AT802F can land on the river, take on up to 3200 litres of water and return to the sky, as witnessed by the couple.

“He’ll hit the water, fill up and take off by the time he gets to Sandy Hook,” Ray said.

Vicki said she keeps her camera nearby and stops whatever she’s doing to capture the bomber planes in action, which changes nightly.

“You can have one in the water, one coming down and one in the air,” Vicki said.

“The strategy they use and where they land has changed since they first started, especially over the weekend, when they picked a different spot because there were too many boats in the water.

bomber planes
Boaties have been sharing local waterways as bomber planes frequent the Burnett River .

“There was also once birds in the water too, and the plane had to stop and wait for them to cross.

“One plane dumped its water about three times before it took off and another put its siren on as it filled up, I think he saw us waving at him.

“Sometimes it really feels like they’re giving us a show.”

The bomber planes show continues for those on the water as locals have their smooth sailing interrupted by the unlikely spectacle.

“There was a bloke fishing, he had been there all day, and the first plane of the night came across our roof and would have landed about level with the boat,” Ray said.

“That’s one way to scare the fish away.”

bomber planes
AT802F Fireboss water bomber aircraft have been a common sight on the Burnett River in recent days with fires burning throughout the region.

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