28 March 2012
Firefighters battled a number of fires in bush land near residential areas west of the Koondoola Open Space, in the northern suburbs of Perth.
Police and FESA said that the fires were deliberately lit by an arsonist at around 11am, as there were approximately 15 ignition points. Flames reached a height of 10 metres, threatening homes and lives of nearby residents and schools in Koondoola and Alexander Heights, and a number of roads were closed. Although evacuations were not considered necessary, some residents packed their belongings and prepared to leave.
A total of 55 firefighters supported by several helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft were brought in to fight the fires, which were brought under control by late afternoon and continued to smoulder throughout the night. Aircraft included:
- N243AC / 741 Sikorsky S-64E Skycrane (cn 64-022) of Erickson Air-Crane, named “Marty”, on lease to FESA (Fire & Emergency Services Authority) for the 2011/12 bushfire season.
- C-FIBN / 681 Sikorsky S-61N (cn 61811) of VIH Helicopters Ltd, British Columbia, Canada, on lease to FESA (Fire & Emergency Services Authority) for the 2011/12 bushfire season.
- VH-WCN / 668 Eurocopter AS350B3 Squirrel (cn 3190) of Helicopters Australia
- VH-WCD / 669 Eurocopter AS350B3 Squirrel (cn 3266) of Helicopters Australia
- Air Tractor AT-802 aircraft of Dunns Aviation.
- VH-JRI Bell 206B JetRanger III (cn 4234) of Resource Aviation Pty Ltd – This circled at higher altitude, either being used by the media or as a fire controller.
The helicopters refilled their water tanks at Emu Lake, in neighbouring Ballajura, as it was less than a kilometre from the fire. To see more photos – CLICK HERE