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Old 7th Mar 2020, 18:30
  #38 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Australia
Posts: 371
Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology reviewing alerting system – post-fires.

The Australian BOM provides an enormous amount of information to the emergency services during catastrophic weather episodes. During the current bushfire disaster, the BOM was assisted by the USA’s military satellites providing high-resolution imagery to assess flood and fire boundaries and Japanese meteorological satellites which can predict more accurately disastrous weather conditions.

But rural industries are suggesting ways to improve the current alerting protocols to avoid excessive losses in their area. Excluding Alaska and Hawaii, Australia has the same landmass as United States. Both are around 7.7 km2. However, Australia only has a population of 25 million, compared to the USA’s 324 million.

A year before the current bushfire disaster erupted across Australia, severe flooding in north-west Queensland killed more than 500,000 head of cattle due to the North-west Queensland's 2019 monsoon being one of the biggest on record. But an unexpected cold snap caused the widespread stock losses.

At present the focus is now on the southern areas of Australia where there has been a long-running drought, disastrous bushfires, many severe storms with hail and snow in some areas, and other weather events making aerial firefighting difficult. The loss Coulson Aviation’s Lockheed EC130 and three crew members when fighting a fire in less than ideal weather conditions is now under investigation. To date, the current fires have claimed four helicopters, fortunately with no loss of life. They all occurred in very hot weather conditions, which can reduce the performance of most helicopters.

Rural agricultural, livestock and aerial firefighting concerns have similar needs as they are all within the low-level airspace close to the ground. Hopefully, this review of existing methodology will help other nations such as USA, Canada and Spain, where fatal accidents have occurred during wildfire operations.

Next we will look how an international aerial firefighting service works with Australia’s state and territory system; and complies with our unique aviation regulatory system.

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