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.
Police are asking for information about an assault in Shepparton that left a man with serious facial injuries and broken bones last month.
The 2014 Yarrawonga Mulwala Multisport Festival has been hailed a huge success by organisers and participants alike.
The fifth annual King Billy Retreat Open Garden Party will be held at Rushworth on Saturday and Sunday, October 25-26, from 10 am to 4 pm.
Emily Umbers has been helping members of the Maasai community to get a toilet.
St Joseph’s Primary School students took part in an extended after-school stay.
Fraser sure has aces in spades
A great day brought big numbers to Station St in Seymour.
Finley's Mark Whiley has been traded from the GWS Giants to Carlton - the club he has supported all his life.
Nominations are being sought for the annual Axedale CWA community youth award.
Access to Ulupna Island has been blocked at key points, leaving local residents and businesses rallying for a re-opening in a bid to save tourism dollars.
Deniliquin McDonald's raised more than $1300 for McHappy Day on Saturday.
Up to14 new full-time jobs will be created at Pactum Dairy Group in Shepparton, with the company set to embark on an $18million expansion at its factory.
Alma Nungarrayi Granites is the most successful of the Warlukurlangu artists who still live at Yuendumu and enjoys teaching children about aboriginal culture and art.
Discover unbelievable local deals from local businesses every week in the Goulburn and Murray Valley area with Leapon.com.au!
Search properties for sale or rent across North Central Victoria and Southern NSW. Visit your local website for local homes....
Search for published and unpublished photos from McPherson Media Group newspapers and magazines. All our photos are available to purchase.
Place an advertisement in any one of McPherson Media Group's local newspapers.