Deputy group officer Malcolm Stacey cranks up the pump at Massie Aerodrome yesterday.
Deputy group officer Malcolm Stacey cranks up the pump at Massie Aerodrome yesterday. Shannon Newley

Team pumped up to douse blazes

WATER bombers will be loaded up faster than ever to help fight fires from above thanks to a new installation at the Massie Aerodrome.

Warwick Rural Fire Brigades group officer Alan Payne said the new set-up would shave minutes off the time it took to load up the bombers and send them back into the air.

"Previously we would set up collar tanks - self supporting tanks that look like pools - and we would get a transfer pump to the plane and we had to bring a truck to fill the collar tank," he said.

"Because we had all those components, it took longer. We were up to five or six minutes, which just wasn't fast enough."

He said there was now a tank at the aerodrome, which was connected through underground pipes to the landing strip where the water bombers pulled up.

He said the pump could be connected to these pipes - alleviating the need for a collar tank.

"The pilots pull up and a qualified crew member connects the plane," Mr Payne said.

QFRS Southwest Regional Manager Wayne Waltisbuhl said while fire needed to be fought from the ground, having a system by which water bombers could be up in the air in a matter of minutes would help subdue blazes in future fire seasons.

"We are looking at getting something similar at Stanthorpe, Inglewood and Chinchilla," he said.


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