Firefighting aircraft in Victoria, Australia could be dispatched to bushfires much more quickly if a new system being tested works out the way the state government hopes.
The final report on the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires recommended that a better system be developed for dispatching aircraft. Here is an excerpt from an article at Itnews:
…The Commission discovered a three-layered approvals process was required in the request-based dispatch system before an aircraft was able to launch.
It meant the average dispatch time for aircraft was around 34 minutes, due to approval needing to pass three layers in what amounted to a “cumbersome system”, the Commission found.
A trial of “enhanced dispatch” was undertaken in the 2012-13 fire season at Bendigo airport over 106 days and 44 fires, and found that aircraft were dispatched and in position over the fire “significantly more quickly” than those dispatched via the existing system. The trial reported an average dispatch time of eight minutes, compared to the previous 34 minutes.
“Ground crews consistently reported that the early arrival of aircraft was a significant factor in enabling them to control fires,” the Commission reported in its annual report for 2014.