Aerial firefighting at (K’gari) Fraser Island bushfire - Photo Supplied QFES
Aerial firefighting at (K’gari) Fraser Island bushfire - Photo Supplied QFES

EXPLAINED: How fireys are using water bomber in Fraser fire

AS the Fraser Island bushfire continues to burn, QFES has responded to criticism over the use of the large water bomber based at Bundaberg in combating the blaze.

QFES Zone Commander for Wide Bay-Burnett John Pappas hit back at perceptions the resource had be under utilised saying it had been used 21 times in combating the bushfire and continues to be used.

He said the water bomber was just one of 17 aircraft in firefighter's arsenal in fighting the blaze.

Mr Pappas explained, while the Bundaberg based aircraft may have a 10,000 litre payload, it had a longer turn around time between firefighting runs and smaller firefighting aircraft on the Fraser Coast could fly water bombing missions at a higher rate.

There were also safety considerations when using the aircraft.

He said since the aircraft carried 10,000 litres, it was dropping "ten tonnes of water," on the fire and as such, the aircraft couldn't drop water close to firefighters on the ground.

As of December 5, Mr Pappas said "significant progress has been made," with the fire being successfully steered away from Kingfisher Bay with 1.5 million litres of water dropped on Friday alone.

On another front, the fire is 3.5km from Happy Valley and eastern Fraser Island communities.

There are currently 90 personnel and 38 vehicles combating the blaze.

Mr Pappas said over this weekend, firefighters expected a change in conditions with winds reaching up to 35 to 50 km/h.

"The change of winds will put pressure on use but we're going to take every opportunity to slow the spread of the fire."



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