SA CFS aircraft training out of Port Pirie next week
The SA Country Fire Service (CFS) will be conducting five days of aviation training exercises from Monday 24th of August until Friday, 28th of August at the Telowie Gorge Conservation Park, east of Port Germein on the Spencer Gulf.
CFS Manager, State Aviation Operations, Nik Stanley, said the exercise is an important part of their pre-Fire Danger Season training,
"These drills are important in arming our aerial crews with the practical experience they need to safely respond to fires over summer"
"As we saw during last year's bushfires, our aerial capability can be vital to supporting our firefighting efforts. Aircraft alone cannot put out fires; it requires ground-based crews to do the hard work in hostile conditions to extinguish the blaze, but our aerial firefighting aircraft support these crews when required. These exercises will allow our aircrew operations to hone their skills and prepare as a team."
The exercises will train personnel to become accredited Air Attack Supervisors, which will allow them to be responsible for the safe and efficient coordination of aircraft operations when any firefighting aircraft are operating at or near a fire.
Air Operations Support Personnel will also be using the drills to refine their firebombing aircraft re-loading skills and ground-to-air communications.
Mr Stanley also said the community may notice an increase in aircraft in the training areas,
"Residents in Port Pirie and in the areas surrounding Telowie Gorge should not be alarmed by the presence of aircraft over the course of the five days, with crews using the Port Pirie Aerodrome as their base."
"Smoke canisters will be used to simulate bushfire smoke in the Telowie Gorge, but locals can be assured that we will have ground crews in attendance with fire extinguishing resources, in case they are required".
Over the five days, 22 personnel will be involved in the exercise, accompanying a fleet of two Single Engine Air Tankers, a helitack aircraft, a helicopter surveillance aircraft and a fixed wing surveillance aircraft.
The CFS State Aviation Operations team will run up to 8 drills between 9:00am and 5:00pm on all five days.