SA Country Fire Service



Firefighting aircraft take to the skies in annual training exercise


Port Pirie residents may notice an increase in aircraft activity in the coming week as the SA Country Fire Service (CFS) conduct a range of aviation exercises as part of its annual preparations for the bushfire season.

The CFS, along with contractors from Aerotech and Helifarm, will be conducting the exercises out of the Port Pirie Aerodrome from Sunday, 25 September to Friday, 30 September between 9:00am and 5:00pm. Residents within the Port Pirie and surrounding areas should not be alarmed by the presence of aircraft.

CFS Manager State Aviation Operations Nik Stanley said the training exercises will involve one Blackhawk helicopter, two fixed wing firebombing aircraft, and two surveillance aircraft, conducting up 10 flights per day.

"Approximately 80 CFS and DEW Air Operations personnel, including staff, volunteers and contractors, will complete the training program which gives them practical skills in the control and coordination of firebombing aircraft," Mr Stanley said.

"This is the first year we have been able to integrate the new Blackhawk helicopters into our training, and air operations personnel will be refining their skills in the collection of intelligence, aerial mapping of fires, and ground-to-air tactical communication."

Mr Stanley said the community may notice an increase in aircraft activity in the training areas.

"Smoke canisters will be used to simulate bushfire smoke during the exercises, and locals can be assured that we will have ground crews in attendance with fire extinguishing resources, in the event they are required."

"If residents see aerial firefighting and surveillance aircraft operating in and around the Port Pirie area, including Telowie Gorge and Wirrabara Range Conservation Parks, they should not be concerned," he said.

VISION OPPORTUNITY: Media are invited to attend the Port Pirie Aerodrome on Tuesday, 27 September 2022 from 9:00am to 12:00pm to obtain vision of operating aircraft. Manager Aviation Operations, Nik Stanley will be available for comment.

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For media enquiries call the CFS Media Line on 08 8115 3531.

Further information
Information Hotline: 1800 362 361.
Hearing or speech impaired users phone: 1300 555 727 then ask for 1800 362 361.
Teletype service: TTY 133 677 then ask for 1800 362 361. More options are available at National Relay Service or

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 Government of South Australia