Deniliquin pilot Gary Coote is in Tasmania using a firebomber to help battle the fierce blaze threatening the state.ZOE MCMAUGH January 8, 2013 6:34am
0Gary Coote pictured dousing a fire at Richmond, Tasmania. Photo courtesy Hobart Mercury and independent photographer Richard Jupe.
Deniliquin’s Gary Coote was sent to Tasmania with a six-wing fire bomber as a precaution on Wednesday morning, and by that afternoon he was put to work.
When Mr Coote was deployed to Tasmania it was to ensure the fire bomber, which is housed at Deniliquin airport by Field Air, was on hand in the event a fire broke out.
Paul Thomas from Field Air said it wasn’t long before the plane was needed.
He said Mr Coote has been working gruelling hours ever since.
‘‘He has been flying 12 hours a day since he got there, doing an average of 20 loads of foam a day,’’ Mr Thomas said.
‘‘It’s the only six-wing over there but there are some helicopters as well.
‘‘Gary says it’s the worst flying conditions he has ever flown in, with the winds and everything.’’
Mr Coote is based out of Cambridge, 18km from Hobart.
Fires have been burning in the Richmond, Sorell and Port Arthur regions for a number of days.
More than 100 homes have already been lost in the devastated region with an estimated 40 per cent of the houses at Dunalley destroyed by fire on Friday night. At least 1000 people were evacuated from their homes.
Compared to local conditions, temperatures have not been as high in Tasmania in the past week.
On the day the fires broke out, the weather information collected by the Bureau of Meteorology at Dunalley showed the maximum was only 20.4°C and on the following day it peaked at 34.4°C.
Wind speeds have been strong however, only dropping below 60km/h on Sunday, which was the first time since Wednesday.
On Saturday, the wind speeds reached a maximum of 81km/h, fuelling the fires burning across the state.
On his first day in Tasmania, Mr Coote was fighting fires in the Richmond area.
Mr Thomas said since then Mr Coote had been ‘‘all over’’, including Dunalley.
The local pilot will not return from Tasmania until this weekend, when he is legally required to take a break from the efforts.
Mr Thomas has not ruled out having to send another pilot to Tasmania to assist.
Former councillor Chris Hazelman has been elected as seventh councillor for Greater Shepparton.
Police are currently at the scene of a double fatal collision involving two cars in at the Cahill Road, Gilmore Street and Woods Road intersection in Yarrawonga.
Tatura Community House held its annual High Tea fundraiser at the facility on Tuesday, with a full-house present to enjoy a sumptuous morning tea, good conversation and relaxing time together.
CAMPASPE Shire’s animal ranger is hunting two dogs after they attacked and killed a dog walking with its owner.
Rochester Historical and Pioneer Society hosted an afternoon tea to recognise long-standing members Barrie and Flora Griffin and John and Margaret Harley.
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Scone Equine Hospital relaunches local veterinary practice.
A beauty pamper day has raised a whopping $18k to assist local lady Terri Bevan with her ongoing medical costs associated with her brain tumour
A planning scheme amendment to allow the expansion and redevelopment of the IGA supermarket at Heathcote has been approved by the Victorian Planning Minister Richard Wynne.
The second Koonoomoo Pickers and Packers Charity Ball came to town on the weekend, and was bigger and better than ever.
An exciting three-hole playoff saw Virginia Lange take a narrow win in the Deniliquin Ladies Golf Championship last Thursday.
The G-MW Murray gravity irrigation system has received 35 per cent and the Goulburn system 42 per cent of allocation from July 1.
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