"The past is never fully gone. It is absorbed into the present and the future. It stays to shape what we are and what we do."
Sir William Deane, Governor-General of Australia, Inaugural Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lecture, August 1996.

Forty Years of Aviation and Forest Fire

Bryan Rees, 2014 (bio) 

This article is based upon a talk Bryan gave to FCRPA Members in 2014. Access a PDF of the article here.

If you are interested in this article then you should also have a look at this article by Bryan, and this Wikipedia article.

Mike Leonard wanted me to talk about comparisons of working for nearly 40 years in aviation. What’s changed?

With regards to what hasn’t changed, I want to set a scene for some of you. Last Wednesday I was in a rappel helicopter from Buller flying low level, door open, clear NE day and the vista around me showed some of the most charismatic names in remote Victoria - the Bluff, the Razor, the Crosscut Saw, Terrible Hollow – this was my morning vista – some things don’t change, it’s still wondrous and I watched the eyeballs of our Canadian exchangee pop out of her head when she saw it.

Supply Dropping Boxes

Athol Hodgson (bio)

In the early 1950's the FCV stepped up its efforts to extinguish all unplanned fires in State forests by taking aggressive action against fires in remote and inaccessible forests in the east of the State. FCV's policy was to do everything reasonable to reduce the time between when a fire started and the initial attack. Fire crews were trained and equipped for "dry" fire fighting and expected to walk - sometimes long distances - to fires.

Aerial Ignition

Barry Marsden (bio)

This article is being developed

From the late 1960s, aerial igniton became a very important part of Victorian forestry opeartions. Initially, fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters were used for fuel reduction burning, with helicopters also playing a key role in large-scale backburning during fire suppression operations. Eventually, helicopters also came to be important in igniting regeneration burns following timber harvesting.

Remote Sensing - Fire


This article is being developed

A focus on the use of IR technology in aircraft, first used in Vic in about 1981/82, to map wildfires

My memory is we first tried a line scanner in 1981/82 on a fire near Kilmore/Wallan - It was owned by CSIRO and operated from a Fokker F27 that was either owned by or leased by CSIRO. I don't remember a real time image available in tthe aircraft.


Firebombing has been an important wildfire suppression technique in forest fire fighting in Victoria since 1967.
This introductory article comes from a 1987 paper by  Athol Hodgson for The Fireman.
The complete paper is available here, and extracts from the article are provided below.

This article is still being developed - gallery photos extend past early firebombing operations and need context to go with them. Galleries need consolidation.