CFA aircrane ‘Gypsy Lady’ to call Ballarat home

ONE of the massive firefighting aircranes used by the CFA will again be stationed at Ballarat this summer to meet any western Victorian fire threats.

“Gypsy Lady” will call Ballarat home later this month, while her famous brother Elvis has already moved into Essendon Airport.

Bushfire Response Minister Peter Ryan and federal Emergency Management Minister Nicola Roxon welcomed the arrival of Gypsy Lady and Elvis to Victoria’s firefighting air fleet.

“Two Sikorsky helicopters, which can each carry 3500 litres of water, have also been brought in especially for the summer period and will be based at Mansfield and Colac,” Mr Ryan said.

“These four machines are the powerhouse of a fleet which will assist with bushfire first attack, major fire suppression and support firefighters on the ground this summer.”

Both aircranes can carry up to 9000 litres of water or foam and reach a cruising speed of 200km/h.

Ms Roxon said smaller fire bombing helicopters and fixed wing aircraft had already been deployed throughout central Victoria to respond to the increased risk of grass fires.

Mr Ryan said a further 150 aircraft were on call and could help out in Victoria if required.