NSW Rural Fire Service Boeing 737-3H4 Water Bomber landing at Rockhampton Airport
NSW Rural Fire Service Boeing 737-3H4 Water Bomber landing at Rockhampton Airport Russell Prothero

The world-first aircraft helping firies at Deepwater

A LARGE helping hand is assisting firefighters battling the Deepwater Blaze, and it's the second time in the world it has been used in active duty.

The 737 Fireliner was designed by Canadian company Coulson Aviation, who retrofitted Boeing 737-300s from US airline company Southwest Airlines.

It has the capacity to hold over 15,000 litres of water or flame retardant, and can release its load at 8,300 litres per second.

One of those planes, Gaia, was purchased by the New South Wales Rural Fire Service, and is the world's first Boeing 737 dedicated to aerial firefighting work.

NSW Minister for Emergency Services Troy Grant said the aircraft, while based in the state, will be available for use in other jurisdictions.

"With the changing climatic conditions across the world, we want to have the surety that we have immediate access to large air tankers when we need them,” Mr Grant said.

NSW Rural Fire Service deputy commissioner Rob Rogers said the Fireliner is a magnificent aircraft.

"I think we'll see it serve us well,” Mr Rogers said.

It was first put in to work in last Thursday's Newcastle bushfires, and three days later, it was pressed in to use closer to home, in the Deepwater bushfires.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she appreciates the NSW Government's offer to the loan the aircraft.

"I also want to thank the New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian for her offer of kind assistance," Ms Palaszczuk said.

The Queensland Fire and Emergency Services said on Twitter that they are grateful for the assistance from NSW.

"This is the first time this aircraft has been used to fight fires in Queensland,” they said.



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