Gisborne Airport

On Monday 18th Feb, Gisborne became a refueling base for 6 aircraft that were working on the Donnybrook fire near Craigieburn.

Just before 1:30pm on Monday 18 Feb CFA crews were called out to a fast moving grass & scrub fire on Donnybrook Rd Donnybrook.

Mount St Leonards & Kangaroo Ground fire towers both confirmed thick black smoke showing and building in size. Senior Station Officer Paul Elso from Craigieburn brigade confirmed a grass & scrub fire not yet under control and quickly called for 20 tankers and aircraft support.

The fire continued to burn in a southerly direction and very quickly impacted on traffic on the Hume Freeway. Police closed off the freeway and CFA, MFB and DSE crews began to arrive and protect assets such as factories and homes in the area.

More strike teams arrived and were rapidly deployed as the fire ran along the freeway reserve and headed across long grass towards buildings. A staging area for vehicles was organised by the Gisborne ICC at the Epping Recreational Reserve.

Aircraft returning from the Grampians fire stopped at Gisborne’s Dixon field for a ‘HOT’ refuel before responding to the Donnybrook fire. They continued using Gisborne as a refuel point for the remainder of the day. The 6 aircraft staged over night and returned the next morning.

Gisborne crew members assisted with fire safety coverage whilst the DSE fuel tankers filled up each chopper, also Brigade members provided a BBQ meal and drinks for pilots and support crew.

Photo’s courtesy: FF Joel Wood and Comms Bevan Moody