FIREFIGHTERS from the Department of Sustainability and Environment and the Country Fire Authority are expected to strongly lobby their respective head offices inMelbourneto establish a large and reliable supply of aviation fuel inPortland, following a fuel shortage that developed atPortlandairport during last weekend’s massive bushfire at Kentbruck.
Peter Tapscott, of Portland Aero Club, confirmed that on Friday the airport ran out of AvGas to refuel the water bombers and spotter planes fighting the huge blaze in 40C plus heat.
He said the problem would have been even more severe if there had been no AvGas there at all, a situation that all pilots confronted until a small but reliable supply was reinstated a year ago.
“When the fire broke out, there were only 2300 litres of fuel at the airport,” Mr Tapscott said.
“The first bomber and spotter flights used that up, and by late afternoon the bomber was stuck on the ground because of a lack of fuel.
“But DSE and the CFA did a great job of opening up the facility inGeelongand quickly sending 10,000 litres of fuel here by truck, arriving on Saturday at 5pm.
“Our Aero Club members spent all weekend out at the airport refuelling aircraft and helping out wherever we could. I think we have all learned a big lesson about keeping adequate reserves of fuel on hand at all times. This could have been a serious issue.”
Read more in Wednesday’s Portland Observer.