HMAS Albatross provides local bushfire support

Published on Ms Dallas McMaugh (author), ABIS Sarah Williams (photographer)

Location(s): HMAS Albatross, NSW

Topic(s): HMAS Albatross

Members of the NSW Rural Fire Services utilise HMAS Albatross's facilities to refuel aircraft involved in bushfire suppression efforts. (photo: ABIS Sarah Williams)
Members of the NSW Rural Fire Services utilise HMAS Albatross's facilities to refuel aircraft involved in bushfire suppression efforts.

Naval Air Station Nowra, HMAS Albatross, is providing support to a range of emergency services aircraft working to suppress a bushfire burning within remote country 30 kilometres inland from Ulladulla.

Both rotary and fixed wing aircraft from the NSW Rural Fire Service are being provided access.

Albatross Airfield Coordination Officer, Lieutenant Martin Burton says the base is a hive of activity.

“There is currently a lot of activity on the airfield,” Lieutenant Burton said.

“We have been providing access for aircraft associated with bushfire suppression since 18 October. Since then, the number of aircraft using our facilities has been steadily increasing. We now have 16 aircraft using Albatross as an operational base, primarily for refuelling but also for collecting retardant to dump on the fire.”

“As a result, the Airfield Coordination Centre is being kept very busy. We’re handling significantly more aircraft than usual and have seen an increase in radio calls, as we deal with pilots who are unfamiliar with the airfield and are dealing with reduced visibility as a result of the fires,” said Lieutenant Burton.

“Serco contractors who drive the fuel tankers on base have also been working non-stop to ensure we maintain adequate fuel supplies.”

Albatross Commanding Officer, Captain Gordon Andrew says the base is pleased to be able to do its bit.

“This is a great example of Albatross working with and being part of the community. Nothing is more important than making sure people are safe and property is protected.”