Push to upgrade Larras Lee airstrip for bushfire fighting

The Boomey Bushfire Brigade has commenced a push for the upgrade of the airstrip at Larras Lee. In the light of past experience, particularly a recent fire on
the Avondale road near Cumnock on a catastrophic fire day (the same day as the Sir Ivan fire at Leadville), Brigades had the fire controlled within three hours.

More often than not large bushfires occur in hot and windy weather. On the day of the Avondale fire two firefighting aircraft took on water at the Larras Lee Strip but were unable to keep filling there because of the increasing wind conditions.

If the airstrip has a second cross strip facing North / South, and is sealed, aircraft can be turned around far quicker. Rather than fly from Cumnock to Orange and back (about an hour in the case of the Avondale fire) local firefighters would be able to fill planes at this strip around every 15 minutes. The Brigades are seeking that priority be given to infrastructure funding that would allow creation of a North / South cross strip and the sealing of both strips. This would assist Brigades within a sixteen kilometere radius of the strip, and would have a considerable impact on the strategy to hit fires fast and hard. A strategy that has been very effective in controlling fires in the Canobolas zone.

Much of the present Larras Lee strip was built with volunteer labour with financial assistance from Cabonne Council and by pooling some of their own Fire Service Levy funds. The local Bushfire Brigades are now lobbying local and State Government authorities for funds to complete the strip.

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