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- Elvis comes early
(Canberra Times, October 18 2009, p. 9)
Elvis the helicopter - one of Victoria's key bushfire weapons - will start duty a month earlier this year to help fire authorities be better prepared for the bushfire season. The helicopter will be on the job from the third week of November. An additional [AUD] $21 million is being spent over the next four years to improve fire protection on public land around Melbourne's urban fringes.
- Move over, Elvis, here's Elsie
By Emily Sherlock
(Canberra Times, October 21, 2007, p. 6)
Fresh from battling the Greek fires, air-crane pilot Don Mcleod is back in Australia and gearing up for what is predicted to be a "dangerous" bush fire season. The pilot will be based in Canberra again this year providing vital support to local fire crews.
Two air cranes - Elvis and Elsie - also touched down in Australia last week and are being assembled and tested before their contracts start late next month. It is believed that Elsie will be based in Canberra and Elvis in Melbourne.
... While the helicopters attracted a lot of attention because of their fire-fighting capacity - holding 9800 litres (or 9.8 tonnes) - of water collected in 35 seconds, Mr Mcleod said the fire fighters on the ground wre true heroes. "They [helicopters] are just another tool in the arsenal," he said. ...
- Move over Elvis, Rocky scoops the pool: Liquid asset - the Rocky Skycrane can draw 9000 litres of water in less than 50 seconds
By Jonathan Pearlman
(Sydney Morning Herald, November 25, 2005)
The state's latest weapon against bushfires can carry 9000 litres of water, costs about $4 million a season and is named after a flying squirrel with an annoying voice. The Rocky Skycrane, named after the sleuthing rodent in the cartoon series Rocky and Bullwinkle, arrived in Sydney from Oregon and unveiled yesterday by the Government and the NSW Rural Fire Service. A spokesman for the fire service, Murray Hillan, said the helicopter could scoop a tankful of water in less than 50 seconds. To fill up, it needs a water source that is at least a metre deep and 70 metres clear of obstacles. ... "Rocky will be a very reassuring sight for property owners, landholders and national park users this summer. It is essentially the same type of aircraft as the famous Elvis."...
- Fire service backs claim 'Elvis' overrated
(ABC News Online, January 25, 2005)
The South Australian Country Fire Service (CFS) has backed claims that heavy-lift helicopters, such as the Erikson Sky Crane nicknamed "Elvis", are overrated and expensive tools in the firefighting effort. A national inquiry into bushfire mitigation has found that helicopters are no more effective than ground crews.
CFS chief officer Euan Ferguson has faced criticism because of delays in calling in water bombers for the deadly Eyre Peninsula bushfires and he agrees with the inquiry findings. "That's one of our concerns, that Elvis is overrated," he said. "Firefighting aircraft generally are overrated and if I can just perhaps snatch a couple of words from the report, which says that 'the effective practice of firefighting lacks a scientific evaluation'. It's saying that it's overly influenced by media images of aircraft such as Elvis and self-promotion of aircraft operators."
- 'Elvis' costs a bomb
By Bernard Lane
(The Australian, January 25, 2005)
THE multi-million-dollar cost of water-bombing bushfires by "Elvis" and other aircraft has been called into question. Smaller helicopters were no better at firefighting than crews on the ground with hand tools, according to an independent national inquiry into bushfire mitigation released by Prime Minister John Howard yesterday, nine months after he received it.
The wide-ranging report of the Council of Australian Governments' inquiry made 29 recommendations to improve bushfire preparedness, including the update of building standards for bushfire-prone areas. The costly practice of aerial firefighting "lacked sufficient scientific evaluation", was influenced by media images of aircraft such as Elvis - the Erickson Aircrane helicopter - and the self-promotion of aircraft operators, the report said. The report backed the new aerial fire-fighting centre as an example of national leadership, but said its future should depend on a review being undertaken by the Bushfire Co-operative Research Centre.
- Elvis hits the sky
By Mark Moor
(Herald Sun, January 14, 2005)
A LITTLE Elvis will be the guardian angel of Melbourne's water catchments during the summer bushfire season. Acting Premier John Thwaites welcomed a water-bombing helicopter from Canada to help fight possible fires in water catchment areas over the next 14 weeks. Smaller than the Elvis water helicopter that has battled fires in past years, the 1300L chopper is only ever 15 minutes from Melbourne's water catchments. "A serious fire in Melbourne's water catchments would be devastating for Melbourne's long-term water supply," Mr Thwaites said. "It could contaminate the supply with ash, silt and debris and reduce the quantity of water flowing to reservoirs." ...
- Victorian firefighters still battling blaze
(The Age, January 13, 2005)
Fire crews were today working furiously to contain a blaze in Victoria's far west, battling hot weather and gusts of north-westerly wind. Extra crews were sent to the area from across the state in an effort to control the fire that has already killed 6,000 head of livestock and destroyed several buildings since it began on Tuesday. Temperatures in the low 30s and wind gusts of 50kph were hampering firefighters' efforts to quell the fire. Ten aircraft, including the water-bombing aircrane Elvis, helicopters, and four fixed-wing fire bombers were helping about 600 firefighters attempt to create a control line bordering the area in Fulham Reserve, north of the western Victorian town of Balmoral. So far the fire has burned more than 8,800 hectares, and that figure is set to rise before operations are completed. ...
- Anti-Elvis helicopter sends forests up in flames
By Peter Brewer
(Canberra Times, October 19, 2004)
Trailing streams of flaming gel, a specialised heli-torch yesterday peformed the final act in the destruction of the once-abundant pine plantations to the west of Canberra. ... The heli-torch was brought in from Tasmania to accelerate ACT Forests' controlled burn-off of the plantation vestiges remaining over some 2000ha of the former Pierces Creek, Uriarra and Stromlo forests. ...