Australia’s aerial firefighting community will shortly gather in Albury for the first in what is hoped to be an annual conference.
The Aerial Application Association of Australia (AAAA) is hosting the conference, to be held over two days on August 4-5, to discuss better and safer ways to keep residents and property safe during the summer months.
AAAA chief executive Phil Hurst said aircraft provided a rapid response to fires and saved the community millions of dollars each year.
“Aerial firefighting is a specialized area of expertise that involves both fixed-wing and rotary aircraft working together to protect the community, firefighters on the ground, assets and the environment,” Hurst said in a statement on Thursday.
“Firefighting capabilities range from sophisticated mapping and survey using the latest computer equipment and infra-red technology to helicopters efficiently moving people around a fire-ground or providing fire attack control to the fixed and rotary wing bombers that can lay down retardant for fire breaks or extinguish fires.
“The conference in Albury is the first step in what will hopefully become an annual event bringing together all facets of the aerial firefighting sector in Australia.”
Hurst noted Australia’s aerial firefighting capabilities had improved significantly in recent times.
“This is in direct response to the effectiveness of aviation in providing a wide range of services to support volunteers on the ground,” he said.
“While the community might only hear of aircraft being used on large bushfires that burn for days, often in rugged terrain, the real success story is how aircraft can keep small fires small, protect houses and assets and provide another tool for firefighters.
The AAAA was previously known as the Aerial Agricultural Association of Australia.
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Hurst said the name change better reflected the broad range of aviation activities, operators and pilots the association represented.
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