The NSW Nationals in the federal government have announced funding for the lease of a Large Air Tanker to boost aerial firefighting muscle this fire season.

Federal Nationals Member for Lyne Dr David Gillespie said the extra resourcing was important as the Bushfire Danger Period was already in place across a number of local government areas.

“As individuals and communities we need to be ready to respond to fires, and we’re all too aware of this in our local region,” Dr Gillespie said.

“Our Government has committed an annual $4 million to lease this aircraft, because of the earlier starting and later finishing fire seasons.

“With a capability to drop more than 15,000 litres of retardant or water, this air tanker will be deployed very quickly, based on need.”

Dr Gillespie said firefighting aircraft were now a very visible feature of firefighting operations each season.

“It’s an extra comfort to know we will have year-round access to a Large Air Tanker, in addition to an existing fleet of more than 150 specialised aircraft, to protect our communities.

“There have been widespread hazard reduction burns across our region in recent weeks,” Dr Gillespie said.

“If the fire season is already underway in your council area, you need a permit and you need to notify your local fire authority and your neighbours 24 hours before lighting up. If a fire does escape, make sure you call Triple Zero (000) immediately.”