Canadian crew members of the Large Air Tanker (LAT) stationed at Bundaberg Regional Airport have completed quarantine and are ready to face Queensland’s bushfire season.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk was in town to make the announcement which comes as the state’s bushfire risk intensifies.
“We have this LAT here especially for the next three months of our bushfire season,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“We have got an increased fire danger over the next couple of days because of the dry and windy conditions, so everyone please be on alert.
“But to have the LAT here for Queensland based in Bundaberg to address any issues in regional Queensland is, of course, excellent.
“Our pilots from Canada have done their quarantine and they are raring to go.”
The LAT will be based in Bundaberg for Queensland’s next four bushfire seasons and will be sent to Victoria for its fire season, which coincides with Queensland’s wet season.
Minister for Fire and Emergency Services Mark Ryan said the LAT was an excellent asset for Queensland leading into bushfire season.
“It’s great to have this resource though based here in Bundaberg because it allows us, in our peak bushfire period, to be able to respond quickly and decisively to bushfire threat,” Mr Ryan said.
“In true Aussie spirit, it’s also available for other states who may require this amazing aerial firefighting capability.”
He said the aerial firefighters, who hailed from Canada, were “some of the world’s best”.
Mayor Jack Dempsey, who is also chair of the Local Disaster Management Group, said it was excellent to see the LAT back in action and protecting lives and property during bushfire season.
“It is just inspirational to be able to come and see the type of equipment the state has in place protecting Queenslanders,” Mayor Dempsey said.
“Now that we’ve got the support from the air and the expertise on the ground it means that we can respond and get on top of disasters in a more timely way.”
The LAT features impressive fire suppression and containment capabilities with a 10,000 litre retardant capacity.