Op Bushfire Assist – 27 January UPDATE

Updated at 9am on 28 January 2020

CAPTION: Australian Army HX77 heavy rigid trucks loaded with fodder heading for Bonang in the north of Gippsland on Australia Day in support of Operation Bushfire Assist. Photo by Private Michael Currie.

RELATED STORIES: Operation Bushfire Assist 19-20

Providing direct support to the bushfire crisis is the Australian Defence Force’s main effort.

ADF support will continue for as long as needed.

   

About 6400 ADF personnel are supporting Operation Bushfire Assist.

Personnel numbers

  • Reserves: Approximately 2500
  • International military: More than 350 (see International support for more information)

Call out arrangements

The call out of reserves for this bushfire crisis was authorised by the Governor-General on January 4, 2020.

The Governor-General has revoked this order with effect February 7, 2020, based on the ADF’s transition from emergency support, to relief and recovery operations.

This will be a gradual draw-down of reserves who were part of the compulsory call out.

The ADF will continue to directly support bushfire-affected communities with its full-time forces and volunteer reserves.

As conditions have changed, the ADF’s focus is moving from immediate emergency support to save life and property, to longer-term support to help communities recover and rebuild.

ADF support

The ADF is working with local and state authorities to determine where support is most needed.

Current efforts are focused on assisting state authorities to reopen roads, restore essential services and deliver emergency food, water and fodder to affected communities.

Major General Justin ‘Jake’ Ellwood, DSC is the Emergency ADF National Support Coordinator, working in support of state and territory authorities.

Three Joint Task Forces are coordinating the ADF’s effort:

  • JTF 646 Victoria: Based on Army’s 4th Brigade, with support elements from across the ADF. RAAF Base East Sale is the central hub for the Defence response in southern areas.
  • JTF 1110 New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory: Based on Army’s 5th Brigade, with support elements from across the ADF. Holsworthy Barracks is the central hub for the Defence response across NSW and the ACT.
  • JTF 1111 South Australia and Tasmania: Based on Army’s 9th Brigade, with support elements from across the ADF. Keswick Barracks is the central hub for the Defence response across South Australia and Tasmania.
  • Defence is also providing assistance to emergency services personnel in Western Australia in support of firefighting efforts.

 

Victoria – Joint Task Force 646

Recent activity

  • The JTF is stepping-up route clearance efforts. Combienbar, Bonang and the Princes Highway remain priority routes for clearance.
  • The ADF continues to support the return of evacuees to Mallacoota, working closely with the Victorian Police to return evacuated residents.
  • Temporary permits are being issued by the Victoria Police to evacuees for travel to and from Mallacoota, with further road closures expected to complete road clearances. 237 evacuees have been returned, including by C-27 Spartan and C-130 Hercules aircraft.
  • ADF personnel, including an Unmanned Aerial System and a Defence-contracted search-and-rescue helicopter, assisted local police in their search for a missing four-year old boy near Waterhole in East Gippsland. The boy was found and reunited with his family.

Ongoing support

  • Carcass disposal in support of local councils in the eastern alpine region continues.
  • Fodder drops are continuing to areas of need.
  • JTF 646 is providing logistics and transport assistance to Emergency Services in Tallangatta and Corryong.
  • Support is being provided to evacuee camps, Department of Human Services (DHS) recovery centres and emergency service personnel.
  • Health and Pastoral support. Air Force is operating a medical facility at RAAF Base East Sale and providing pastoral care to support JTF operations. Each JTF is staffed with appropriately credentialed mental health professionals.
  • UAS support. A Small Unmanned Aerial System (SUAS) (Wasp) is based at RAAF Base East Sale to conduct ISR operations in support of JTF646.

Air support

  • Two Australian and two Singaporean CH-47 Chinook helicopters are operating from RAAF Base East Sale to support firefighting operations and provide humanitarian assistance to remote and isolated communities. Other ADF aircraft are providing support as needed from around the country.

Health and pastoral support

  • Air Force is operating a medical facility at RAAF Base East Sale and providing pastoral care to support Joint Task Force operations. Each JTF is staffed with appropriately credentialed mental health professionals.

UAS support

  • A Small Unmanned Aerial System (Wasp) is based at RAAF Base East Sale to conduct reconnaissance operations in support of JTF 646.

 

 

New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory – Joint Task Force 1110

Recent activity

  • ADF members are helping to deliver 45 tonnes of fodder on behalf of Non-Government Organisation, South Coast Rural Relief.
  • The 5th Combat Service Support Battalion began transporting 25 tonnes of donated fodder to farmers in Bodalla.
  • ADF teams are also helping to recover burnt vehicles in Bombala.
  • Bulk water has been delivered in Numeralla (near Cooma).
  • ADF personnel door knocked houses in Tharwa, ACT, to let residents know about the Watch and Act fire in the Orroral Valley (Namadgi National Park), and the possible need to evacuate.
  • Two New Zealand Defence Force NH90 helicopters provided aerial surveillance in south west ACT. Combined Army and Rural Fire Service teams were deployed for Helicopter Landing Zone clearance tasks in the area.
  • ADF veterinarian support will be provided to the Numeralla Koala Sanctuary in Cooma on January 28.
  • The ADF continues to support civilian authorities following the Coulson C-130 Hercules Large Aerial Tanker accident near Adaminaby.
  • Support continues to assist the ACT Emergency Services Agency to develop firebreaks around HMAS Harman (near Queanbeyan).

 

 

Ongoing support

  • Route clearance continues in the Blue Mountains, Clarence Valley, Ilford, Wollemi, Wingecarribee and Nana Glen.
  • Teams are assisting with route clearance and fence replacement in Bega, Eden and Biamanga National Park.
  • Engineers are felling burned and hazardous trees in Batlow, Tumbarumba, Munderoo and Courabyra Rd (South West Slopes).
  • The JTF continues to assist with bulk fodder distribution.
  • Route clearance and delivery of clean water continues throughout areas of need.
  • A health team and Army veterinarian are assessing environmental health and animal issues in Batemans Bay, Bega, Cooma and Tumbarumba.
  • JTF 1110 continues to support catering efforts, providing 500 meals a day to civil and military personnel at the Bega Evacuation Centre.
  • Civil Military Cooperation (CIMIC) personnel are working in Tumut, Taree, Nowra, Cooma, Bombala, Bega, Richmond and Canberra.
  • ADF Chaplains are operating in Bega, Cobargo, Cooma, Eden, Singleton, Tumbarumba, Batlow and Kiah. An ADF Aboriginal Liaison officer is conducting community engagement and liaison with Aboriginal Land Councils within Eurobodalla.
  • Primary health care team support is being provided in Tumbarumba, Bega, Braidwood, Bucketty and at HMAS Albatross.
  • Accommodation and meals are being provided to emergency services personnel from HMAS Albatross.

Navy support

  • HMAS Choules and HMAS Adelaide have returned to Sydney for refit and refurbishment, but remain on reduced notice to continue to provide support if required.

Air support

  • MRH90 Taipan, MH-60R Seahawk and EC-135 helicopters are conducting fire mapping, surveillance, and search and rescue operations supporting the NSW Rural Fire Service throughout the Hunter, Greater Sydney, Illawarra, ACT and southern regions..

Recovery operations

  • The ADF is providing personnel and equipment to undertake initial recovery tasks as identified and assessed by the NSW Government, based on advice from specialist ADF advisers. These tasks are in Tamworth, Wollondilly, Nowra, Mudgee, Maitland and Wingecarribee.

 

South Australia and Tasmania  – Joint Task Force 1111

Recent activity

Kangaroo Island

  • Support continues for recovery operations including clearing roads, clearing trees and debris, fixing signposts and removing damaged fences.
  • Within the JTF, there is a focus on fatigue management of ADF personnel.
  • Teams are resuming chainsaw tasks, focusing on any outstanding requests for support.
  • The JTF continues to support civilian agencies on Kangaroo Island with catering and environmental health support. Fresh rations have been supplied for catering support.
  • ADF personnel helped to install contracted demountable shower and laundry facilities on January 26.
  • ADF teams are supporting the State Emergency Service and National Parks with infrastructure repairs in Parndana and Vivonne Bay.
  • ADF teams delivered hay in response to an immediate need from landholders.
  • The JTF is also helping local farmers to clear routes and boundary fences.

 

 

Adelaide Hills

  • Teams are assisting with local infrastructure support and clean-up of fire damage.
  • Bulk water and environmental health support to local communities is ongoing.
  • Engineer support is focusing on infrastructure repair and route clearance, as well as water distribution.

Ongoing support

  • ADF personnel continue to work with the Lobethal Recovery Centre, which is providing emergency relief and support to residents in the Adelaide Hills and Cudlee Creek areas.
  • Water treatment and delivery is ongoing. The ADF water purification team has so far produced almost 2.4 million litres of clean water for Kangaroo Island, with the priority of support to high-risk farmers.
  • JTF 1111 continues to support SA Water, SA Health, State Emergency Service, National Parks Service and Country Fire Service infrastructure.
  • Support continues for fire containment tasks, equipment provisions, road clearance and fence repairs, removing fallen trees and replacing roadside markers.
  • An Australian Army catering detachment is helping to feed personnel conducting support tasks on Kangaroo Island.
  • Soldiers and chaplains are supporting vulnerable or at-risk members of the community, including farmers and vineyard owners.

Air support

  • A P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft continues to conduct reconnaissance flights over fire-affected areas in NSW, Victoria and South Australia. This aircraft is operating from RAAF Base Edinburgh, South Australia.

 

Reserve call out arrangements

  • The call out of reserves for this bushfire crisis was authorised by the Governor-General on January 4.
  • The Governor-General has revoked this order with effect February 7, 2020, based on the ADF’s transition from emergency support, to relief and recovery operations.
  • ADF support includes full-time and reserve members from the following:1st, 3rd, 6th, 7th and 17th Sustainment Brigades. 2nd Division, specifically the 4th, 5th and 9th Brigades.
  • The call out – which has involved around 3000 reservists – commenced progressively from January 5.

 

International assistance

ADF efforts are supported by more than 350 international military personnel. This includes:

  • 99 Papua New Guinea Defence Force members – largely engineers – working with JTF 646
  • 54 Republic of Fiji Military Force engineers working alongside ADF personnel in East Gippsland.
  • 87 New Zealand Defence Force members.
  • 50 Republic of Singapore Air Force members.
  • 80 Japan Self-Defense Force members.
  • 10 United States Air Force members forming two cargo load teams operating from RAAF Bases Richmond and East Sale.

 

In addition: 

  • The New Zealand Defence Force has provided engineering support and three NH90 helicopters.
  • The Singapore Armed Forces has provided two CH-47 helicopters.
  • The Government of Japan has provided two C-130 Hercules aircraft.

Defence base support

  • RAAF Base East Sale is supporting Defence aircraft providing emergency response.
  • RAAF Base Richmond and RAAF Base Edinburgh are providing airbase access and support for Large Air Tanker and spotter aircraft.
  • RAAF Base Wagga is providing refuelling support.
  • HMAS Albatross is providing accommodation and meals for RFS personnel.
  • Marrangaroo Training Area has been made available for RFS operations.

 

Concluded support

Since September 5, 2019, Defence has provided the following support to firefighting efforts:

  • The Australian Defence Force provided support to firefighting efforts near Canungra in south-east Queensland from September 5-21, 2019.  This assistance included support to firefighting helicopter operations, the provision of accommodation and meals to firefighters, geospatial intelligence for fire mapping, and support to the incident control centre.
  • From November 8 to February 1, the Royal Australian Air Force is providing contingency airlift support to move large groups of firefighters and their equipment between interstate locations. ​​​​​
  • A RAAF 737 Boeing Business Jet transported ACT Rural Fire Service firefighters from Canberra to Port Macquarie on November 8.
  • A RAAF C-130J aircraft transported firefighters and their equipment from Adelaide to Port Macquarie on November 9.
  • A RAAF C-130J Hercules aircraft transported firefighters and their equipment from Hobart to Port Macquarie on November 10.
  • A RAAF C-130J Hercules aircraft transported firefighters and their equipment from Essendon and Mildura to Armidale on November 12.
  • A RAAF KC-30A multi-role tanker transport aircraft transported 150 firefighters and their personal equipment from Melbourne Airport to Sydney Airport on November 14.
  • Two RAAF KC-30A multi-role tanker transport aircraft transported 258 firefighters and their personal equipment from Sydney Airport to Melbourne Airport on November 15.
  • A RAAF C-17A Globemaster aircraft transported 165 firefighters and their equipment, using two flights, from Melbourne to Coffs Harbour on November 17.
  • A RAAF C-17A Globemaster aircraft transported 130 firefighters and their equipment from RAAF Base Richmond to Melbourne. The same aircraft then transported an additional 130 firefighters and their equipment from Coffs Harbour to Melbourne on November 18.
  • A RAAF C-17A Globemaster aircraft transported 130 firefighters from Melbourne to RAAF Base Richmond on November 19.
  • A RAAF C-130J Hercules aircraft transported 140 firefighters and their equipment from Melbourne to Coffs Harbour on November 20.
  • A RAAF C-130J Hercules aircraft transported 167 firefighters and their equipment from Coffs Harbour to Melbourne on November 21.
  • A RAAF C-130J Hercules aircraft transported 108 firefighters and their equipment from Coffs Harbour to Melbourne on November 24.
  • On November 18, 21 and 22, Army supported Queensland Fire and Emergency Services helicopter operations at Borneo Barracks, near Toowoomba.
  • From November 11-13, Singleton Army Barracks provided accommodation and catering support to about 200 firefighters from the Victorian Country Fire Authority.
  • From November 12-14, a Navy and Army aviation liaison capability worked within the NSW Rural Fire Service State Operations Centre to ensure ADF air support was appropriately coordinated.
  • From November 12-14, two MRH-90 Taipan helicopters from the Navy and two S-70 Black Hawk helicopters from the Army provided movements for Rural Fire Service strike teams and, if required, the rescue of civilian personnel.
  • From November 12-13, the Navy provided two MH-60R Seahawk helicopters to fly night missions from Sydney and Coffs Harbour to facilitate the operation of Rural Fire Service air observers. Two EC135 helicopters continued support on November 14.
  • Two EC135 helicopters from the Navy and two S-70 Black Hawk helicopters from the Army flew in support of NSW Rural Fire Service impact assessments on November 14.
  • ADF personnel from Kokoda Barracks, Canungra, and the 7th Brigade, Brisbane, provided engineering support to assist Queensland Fire and Emergency Services to clean up fire breaks near Beechmont.
  • From November 12-13, Kokoda Army Barracks, Canungra, provided evening meals for 40 firefighters.
  • On November 14, RAAF Base Pearce provided support to aerial firefighting aircraft from the Western Australian Department of Fire and Emergency Services under DACC arrangements.
  • From November 12-16, RAAF Base Williamtown provided refuelling and water re-supply support to a Large Aerial Tanker from the NSW Rural Fire Service.
  • From November 13-17, Army Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopters supported Queensland Fire and Emergency Services conducting night fire mapping. On November 17, a Tiger provided support to search for isolated persons in a high-threat fire area. Queensland Fire and Emergency Services safely recovered the individuals.
  • From November 13-23, RAAF Base Richmond provided accommodation and catering support for varying numbers of between 150 and 300 firefighters, as well as providing workshop/maintenance hangars for up to 50 fire appliances and support vehicles.
  • On November 18, the 7th Brigade provided a platoon to support Queensland Police and Queensland State Emergency Services to search for a missing person around Mount Glorious, Queensland. The missing person was located on the morning of November 18.
  • From November 18-19, the Army’s Borneo Barracks near Toowoomba established a helicopter-landing site, overnight parking and refuelling capability for firefighting and support to civilian rotary-wing aircraft.
  • From November 20-21, two Australian Army MRH-90 Taipan helicopters conducted night fire mapping in south-east Queensland in support of the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services.
  • On November 21, a NSW Rural Fire Service Large Aerial Tanker was refuelled at RAAF Base Edinburgh after a mission was completed in South Australia.
  • From November 22-27, Army provided logistics support to the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services incident control centre, hosted on Borneo Barracks, Cabarlah.
  • On November 26, RAAF Base Gingin provided 18,900 litres of water to two water bombers fighting a fire in the vicinity of Yanchep.
  • From November 26 to December 21, Army provided NSW Rural Fire Service with ground logistic support for the movement of vehicles, stores and equipment in Wauchope.
  • From December 2-6 and December 10-11, Army provided rotary-wing support to the NSW Rural Fire Service from Holsworthy Barracks to support search and rescue and firefighting intelligence.
  • On December 3-4, HMAS Albatross was used to provide catering and accommodation for the NSW Rural Fire Service at Naval Air Station Nowra.
  • On December 4, RAAF Base Pearce provided 12,000 litres of water to two water bombers fighting fires in the vicinity of the City of Swan, Perth.
  • On December 9, ADF Joint Operations Support Staff-Victoria personnel were established in the Victorian Government State Control Centre following State Tier 3 Red notification for forecast catastrophic fire conditions.
  • From December 10-11, a Navy helicopter provided support to the the NSW Rural Fire Service for 24 hours to fly day and night missions from the Naval Air Station Nowra to facilitate the operation of Rural Fire Service-trained air observers.
  • On December 15, RAAF Base Pearce provided support to aerial firefighting aircraft from the Western Australian Department of Fire and Emergency Services under DACC arrangements. Some 60,000 litres of water and 17,870 litres of fuel was provided for the firefighting efforts in the vicinity of Collie and 18,000 litres was provided for firefighting efforts in the vicinity of Yanchep.
  • On December 16, RAAF Base Pearce provided support to aerial firefighting aircraft from the Western Australian Department of Fire and Emergency Services. About 3000 litres of water was provided to fight a fire in the vicinity of Brand Highway.
  • From December 19-23, two Navy helicopters operated from Nowra to provide daytime search and rescue, as well as night-time fire mapping and support missions to the NSW Rural Fire Service.
  • On December 20, support was provided from RAAF Base Edinburgh, South Australia, to refuel two Large Aerial Tankers fighting fires near Cudlee Creek and Munno Para. This support continued on the morning of 21 December.
  • From December 20-23, an additional Joint Operation Support Staff Liaison Officer was deployed to the South Australia Country Fire Service Incident Management Team at Mount Barker to provide direct advice.
  • On December 21-22, RAAF Base Williamtown provided fuel and movements support for two NSW Rural Fire Service fire scanner aircraft under a standing DACC 4 Memorandum of Understanding request.
  • From December 27-30, 2019, 14 ADF personnel deployed within NSW Rural Fire Service incident management teams and are now finalising reports detailing possible options for ADF support during initial recovery operations after the bushfire threat has passed. Defence is expecting a request for assistance from New South Wales authorities and is preparing forces for such a request.
  • On January 3, 2020, two Navy ships evacuated about 1100 isolated persons from Mallacoota.
  • More than 170 people were evacuated by rotary and fixed wing aircraft on January 5.
  • The ADF delivered 18,000 litres of fuel to Omeo for generators powering the town on January 6-7.
  • Working with state authorities, Defence contacted 18 cut-off communities, flying in emergency food, water, fuel and medical supplies as required. Eight communities were visited on January 5, with a further 10 visited on 6 January.
  • On January 5, HMAS Choules (crew of 179) arrived in Western Port with about 1100 evacuees. On January 6, Choules returned to Mallacoota to unload diesel fuel and a fuel management team to sustain the operation of generators providing electricity to Mallacoota.
  • 400 stretchers were provided to the evacuation centres at Moruya and Batemans Bay.
  • A damage assessment team was deployed to Kangaroo Island on January 5, comprising two high-clearance 4WD vehicles capable of carrying a driver and three staff.
  • Army personnel have assisted in the construction of a State Emergency Services camp, rescued injured wildlife and distributed bottled water and bulk water to Kingscote Airport.
  • From January 6, a Striker vehicle and crew were made available to support NSW Rural Fire Service helicopter ‘hot-refuelling’ at Picton Showgrounds.
  • On January 6, JTF 646 commenced redistribution of forces in the northern (Alpine) and southern (Coastal) areas of operation, in order to ensure both Army Support Battalions are force-assigned and capable to undertake a variety of support tasks.
  • On January 7, JTF 646 commenced the preparation of a staging area for about 100 international fire-fighters in the vicinity of Omeo.
  • On January 7, HMAS Choules embarked 280 people from Mallacoota for evacuation to HMAS Cerberus. The ship also delivered stores and emergency services vehicles to Mallacoota.
  • A fuel tanker was sent to the Milton showground.
  • On January 7, support flights were undertaken to relieve 20 firefighters between Port Macquarie to Merimbula.
  • As of 8 January, a plan has been finalised to support the Department of Agriculture in dealing with deceased livestock.
  • On January 8, Army engineers staged forward to Canberra.
  • On January 8, Army engineers moved into Eden with a focus on supporting efforts  to deal with the woodchip fire.
  • On January 8, Army engineers created fire breaks in Kangaroo Valley, cleared tracks around Nowra and provided route clearance in Wollemi National Park.
  • Logistics Support Detachments were deployed to provide support in Glen Innes, Wilberforce, Tamworth, Tumut and Moruya. Food and water was delivered to Rural Fire Service personnel in areas around Tumut. Logistics advice was provided to the Snowy Mountain Council food distribution point.
  • From January 9-11, interagency teams conducted route clearance tasks north of Bairnsdale, hay bales and fodder were moved to key locations in regional Victoria, engineer support was provided to Benalla and Ovens, and engineers undertook route clearance tasks along the Victorian coast.
  • On January 0, C-27J Spartan operations in support of Mallacoota continued with seven sorties from East Sale with cargo delivered and evacuees flown out.
  • On January 9, Army engineers completed a route clearance in Bulga.
  • From January 9, an engineering reconnaissance team operated out of the Incident Control Centre at Moruya after linking with the Rural Fire Service in Mogo.
  • A Primary Health Team relocated to Eden from Batemans Bay on January 9.
  • New Zealand Army engineers arrived on Kangaroo Island on January 9 to begin support operations.
  • From January 9, ADF teams on Kangaroo Island were ready to support the evacuation of Vivonne Bay if required. Army engineers assisted in the clearance of roads in this area.
  • From January 10, Military Police conducted security in Batemans Bay in support of the distribution centre at Mackay Park.
  • On January 10, air movement of stores and personnel continued to critical locations in Cabbage Tree, Bairnsdale and Chandlers Creek.
  • A C-17 aircraft conducted a resupply flight from RAAF Base Edinburgh to Kangaroo Island on January 10.
  • From 10-11 January, Army personnel provided water and assisted in fire preparations at the Parndana Wildlife Reserve.
  • On January 10, a Primary Health Care team was established at the ferry terminal in Penneshaw to treat potential evacuees.
  • A Primary Health Care Team staged at Snowy Hydro Plant Centre on January 12.
  • A Singaporean CH-47 Chinook helicopter conducted a passenger transfer to Melbourne on January 13.
  • Passengers, diesel fuel and fire supporting equipment were transported to Mallacoota by a C-27J Spartan aircraft on January 12.
  • Passengers and machinery were flown to RAAF Base East Sale on a C-17A aircraft on January 12.
  • From January 12-13, an Army reconnaissance team using Protected Mobility Vehicles undertook route clearance and assessment between Orbost and Mallacoota.
  • Engineers established their Task Group Headquarters on January 12 at Tumut to support the State Emergency Operations Centre.
  • An engineer task group was also formed on January 12 to support operations around Bega.
  • A transport section was established at Narooma on January 12 to improve logistics flows.
  • On January 12, a Navy clearance dive team and Army engineers assisted in the recovery of the downed civilian helicopter from the Ben Boyd Reservoir near Eden. The dive team played a key role in resurfacing the aircraft, allowing an ongoing investigation by the civil aviation authorities.
  • On January 12, Army delivered catering assets in support of the Country Fire Service on Kangaroo Island.
  • On January 12, a RAAF C-17A transport aircraft flew passengers and cargo to Kangaroo Island.
  • On January 13, HMAS Choules delivered diesel to Mallacoota.
  • On January 13, two C-130J Hercules transported 100 PNG Defence Force members to Victoria, in preparation for their three-month deployment.
  • On January 13, two Australian Army CH-47 Chinook helicopters relocated from RAAF Base East Sale to RAAF Base Edinburgh to provide support to Kangaroo Island.
  • On January 16, two Japan Self Defense Force C-130H Hercules aircraft and about 70 personnel arrived at RAAF Base Richmond.
  • On January 16, teams conducted a fuel resupply to the Rural Fire Service, State Emergency Service and Canadian firefighters in Glen Innes, Quirindi and Tamworth.
  • On January 16, HMAS Adelaide disembarked engineer elements to support route clearance tasks for the JTF near Eden. HMAS Adelaide’s MH-60R helicopter conducted reconnaissance of potentially isolated communities around the Clyde River Valley.
  • On January 16, two EC135 helicopters conducted fire mapping to support the Rural Fire Service near the ACT.
  • On January 16, route clearance of the Monaro Highway south of Bombala was completed.
  • On January 16, two Royal New Zealand Navy NH-90 helicopters transported Australian Army personnel and equipment to Defence Establishment Fairbairn to support the RFS Stockyard Spur firebreak clearing.
  • On January 16, JTF 1110 elements conducted a fuel resupply to RFS and Canadian firefighters, stores removal and community clean up, logistics tasks for SES Headquarters and other logistics support as required. Locations for this support includes Glen Innes, Quirindi and Tamworth.
  • On January 16, route clearance was conducted near the Playford Highway.
  • On January 16, ADF teams provided observation support to South Australian Police near the Bark Hut Road sector in relation to a suspected arsonist.
  • On January 17, ADF personnel assisted Victoria Police with the door knock evacuation of Nug Nug due to an uncontrolled fire.
  • On January 17, route clearance was completed in the following areas: around the Eden Woodchip Mill near Edrom Road, Kiah, Bega Valley, Shoalhaven and Palerang local government area (Nowra to Braidwood).
  • On January 17, five drivers were provided to the Rural Fire Service to help with logistic efforts.
  • On January 17, teams supplied 40000 litres of water to a rural property at Belowra.
  • On January 17, 41,000kg of fodder was delivered to Jingellic.
  • Route clearance and assistance to farmers near Nerrigundah, Moruya, Bodalla and Nowra is now complete.
  • On January 26, a  Royal Australian Air Force kitchen was established in Orbost.
  • On January 26, ADF personnel helped to install contracted demountable shower and laundry facilities on Kangaroo Island.
  • On January 27, a CH-47 Chinook helicopter delivered a generator to Combienbar while a second CH 47 Chinook was involved in fodder distribution.
  • On January 27, the 5th Combat Services Support Battalion provided tents to NSW Rural Fire Services personnel in Narooma.
  • On January 27, the reconstruction of a damaged enclosure roof at Mogo Zoo on the NSW south coast was completed.

 

Overview

  • The ADF is not trained, equipped or certified to undertake ground-based or aerial bush firefighting and does not get involved in the direct act of fighting bushfires outside Defence property.
  • The state and territory governments have primary responsibility for the protection of life, property and the environment, and for coordinating and planning emergency responses or recovery actions in disaster-affected areas within their jurisdiction.
  • The ADF is able to support the states and territories, within resource limitations, in accordance with Defence Assistance to the Civil Community arrangements as part of a whole-of-government response, where state or territory capacity or resources do not exist, or are not available in sufficient time.
  • Defence has arrangements in place to call out ADF reservists if required to supplement regular personnel.
  • Defence is working with Emergency Management Australia to identify what other ADF capabilities, such as aviation, logistics, transport, engineering and accommodation support can be provided to aid firefighting efforts in eastern Australia.
  • Defence is postured to provide further airlift support and is prepared to provide assistance in areas such as aerial fire reconnaissance, logistical support (ground transport, accommodation, meals etc.) and engineering (field work) upon request from state or territory governments.

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Posted by Brian Hartigan

Managing Editor Contact Publishing Pty Ltd PO Box 3091 Minnamurra NSW 2533 AUSTRALIA

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