New winch-capable teams to combat bushfires

Roger Jaensch,Minister for Environment and Parks

The Tasmanian Government is taking action to keep Tasmanians, infrastructure, and natural assets safe from the threat of bushfires with $2.1 million in the 2020-21 State Budget to establish firefighting teams capable of being winched into remote area fire grounds.

This will upskill our existing firefighting workforce to deal with new ignitions, particularly from lightning strikes, so firefighting crews can be deployed to any area of the State at short notice to actively suppress and fight new fires before they grow.

We are on track to have this capability in place this summer, with the Parks and Wildlife Service working closely with the National Aerial Firefighting Centre to contract a specialised company to deliver a winch capable helicopter and train PWS staff.

We expect up to two, five person, winch capable teams will be trained and available for deployment ready in early 2021, for the remainder of the 2020 21 bushfire season.

Almost 25 Parks and Wildlife Service firefighting staff have volunteered to train in this capability, and the development of this capability over the coming months will enhance our existing fire crews and help ensure Tasmania is as prepared as possible for future bushfires.

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