Rescue Helicopters Ready for Horror Bushfire Season
Date: Sunday, December 24, 12:12 GMT
Topic: Emergency Services News

The Adelaide Bank Rescue Helicopter service provided by Australian
Helicopters is prepared for a horror bushfire season boosting personnel
and equipment to handle the expected extra workload.

Australian Helicopters Adelaide base manager David Anderson says
current fire conditions are the worst in 85 years. "As much as we all
want a peaceful holiday season, the facts show a different picture and
we have to be on alert," Mr Anderson said "There's every indication we
may have something similar to the Ash Wednesday fires of 1983 where a
series of over 100 bushfires killed 75 people and destroyed 9000 homes."

On the 16th of February 1983 the fires moved across Victoria and South
Australia devastating everything in their path and leaving a damage
bill of around $324 million dollars. More than a million hectares were
burnt during the summer of 82/83. Very high temperatures of around 42ºC
with very low humidity of around 6% combined with very strong wind
gusts of around 100 km/h fanned the fires.

"The Adelaide Bank Rescue Helicopter Service has recently provided support to the visiting S64E Erickson Air-Crane brought to South Australia by the Country Fire Service (CFS). The aircraft assisted with fires burning out of control in the Riverland, Clare Valley, Adelaide Hills and Onkaparinga Gorge," Mr Anderson said.

"The CFS has reported that South Australia is coming out of the driest winter on record and there is the potential for a very active fire season. "The areas of primary concern are heavily forested areas and thick scrub where the soil is very dry. "Australian Helicopters will be ready not only for fires but the Christmas holiday season is always a time when Emergency Services have to be ready for anything."

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