CFA has been using aircraft for firefighting since the early 1970s.
Together with the Department of Environment Lands Water and Planning (DELWP), the services of firefighting and reconnaissance aircraft are gathered for use over the summer fire danger period.
These aircraft form the basis of what is known as the Integrated Firefighting Aircraft Resources (IFAR). Each year the IFAR provides as standard 17 specialised firefighting aircraft and, in seasons where the fire danger period is considered to be higher than normal, special State Government funding is provided for additional aircraft.
The types of aircraft CFA and DSE utilise include:
- Light helicopters
- Medium helicopters (helitak) for firebombing - 1200-1400 litre capacity
- Fixed wing aircraft for firebombing - 1900-3200 litre capacity
- Mapping aircraft for infra-red line scanning of fires
- Heavy volume aircraft for firebombing (eg: the Erickson Aircrane - 9000 litre capacity and popularly nicknamed “Elvis”)