Reader’s first hand account of fire fighting air support

Linda Mace, a Goulburn Post reader, saw some of the work done by the aerial support units in fighting the weekend fires. She took the attached photos and sent us this report:

I saw the smoke on the eastern side of town in the afternoon and went out to the airport to watch the aerial assault on the fire near Mountain Ash Road close to small rural properties and house as I could hear the aircraft working it.

They were also operating yesterday out Goulburn to put out a fire at Wayo (we live under the flight path for the Crookwell/Wayo area).

The smoke was rather thick but the skydivers were still operating as were the fire-bombing turbine powered Fred Fahey Aerial Services AT-802 Air Tractors from Cowra (today was Bomber 223 - VH-CVF), used by NSW Rural Fire Service and a NSW Fire Service helicopter which called into Goulburn late in the afternoon. 

I think there were two helicopters but I didn't see the second one.  Parkesbourne Rural Fire Service, Upper Lachlan Rural Fire Service and NSW Fire Brigades trucks were also at the airport on standby with Rural Fire Service Volunteers.  Aerodrome Operator, John Ferrara, supplied the Jet A1 fuel from an onsite tanker.

The parachutists were operating through the smoke as well.  Lightning strikes were seen in the area at the time the aircraft were operating over the fire.

Bomber 223 on takeoff through the smoke RWY 04 Goulburn, loaded with fire retardant heading for the fire 23/12/12. All Photos LINDA MACE.

Bomber 223 on takeoff through the smoke RWY 04 Goulburn, loaded with fire retardant heading for the fire 23/12/12. All Photos LINDA MACE.

Bomber 223 looms in the smoke on takeoff RWY 04 Goulburn, with another load of fire retardant 23/12/12

Bomber 223 looms in the smoke on takeoff RWY 04 Goulburn, with another load of fire retardant 23/12/12

Upper Lachlan Rural Fire Brigade truck with Volunteers on standby at Goulburn Airport 23/12/12

Upper Lachlan Rural Fire Brigade truck with Volunteers on standby at Goulburn Airport 23/12/12

Tandem parachutists landing through the smoke at Goulburn Airport 23/12/12

Tandem parachutists landing through the smoke at Goulburn Airport 23/12/12

Bomber 223 ready for takeoff on another trip to the fire front 23/12/2012

Bomber 223 ready for takeoff on another trip to the fire front 23/12/2012

Bomber 223 taxiing out for another sortie over the fire - several lightning strikes were seen close by while the aircraft was operating over the fire scene

Bomber 223 taxiing out for another sortie over the fire - several lightning strikes were seen close by while the aircraft was operating over the fire scene

NSW Rural Fire Service fire bombing helicopter preparing to land at Goulburn Airport after fighting the fire 23/12/2013

NSW Rural Fire Service fire bombing helicopter preparing to land at Goulburn Airport after fighting the fire 23/12/2013

NSW Rural Fire Service fire bombing helicopter "Wildcat" 273 about to touch down at Goulburn Airport after working on the fire 23/12/12

NSW Rural Fire Service fire bombing helicopter "Wildcat" 273 about to touch down at Goulburn Airport after working on the fire 23/12/12

Welcome to the City of Goulburn - ready to fight the fire - 23/12/12

Welcome to the City of Goulburn - ready to fight the fire - 23/12/12

With Parkesbourne truck and Air Tractor with lights on says the most about the cooperation between the local area Rural Fire Service and the aerial firefighting effort.

With Parkesbourne truck and Air Tractor with lights on says the most about the cooperation between the local area Rural Fire Service and the aerial firefighting effort.

Volunteers Filling up Bomber 223 (VH-CVF) with fire retardant at Goulburn Airport 23/12/12

Volunteers Filling up Bomber 223 (VH-CVF) with fire retardant at Goulburn Airport 23/12/12

Bomber 223 picking up another load of fire retardant

Bomber 223 picking up another load of fire retardant

NSW Fire and Rescue at the ready - Goulburn Airport 23/12/12

NSW Fire and Rescue at the ready - Goulburn Airport 23/12/12