Firetruck that walks on water

A $200,000 tinnie will be used to fight fires from the water.

With hoses and a water cannon the boat will be able to fight fires on inaccessible shorelines around Lake Dartmouth and Lake Hume.

It will also be used to ferry firefighters to blazes around the lakes that potentially could otherwise burn through state forests for weeks.

The “firetruck on water” can be towed behind a four-wheel-drive and will be made available for other services, including search-and-rescue operations.

Department of Sustainability and Environment district manager Upper Murray Jarrod Hayse says the boat can be in the water in five minutes.

“In the past we had a boat but it was a bit cumbersome, it took time to get it in the water, you needed a truck to tow it,” he said.

“This is the equivalent of a fire truck on the water, able to pump the same amount of water as a fire truck.

“This is about quick response, the bigger the fire, the bigger the cost to put it out.”

Mr Hayse said nine DSE staff had trained to be coxswains for the boat.

“As well as fighting fires from the water it will also act as a transport, able to carry six people at a time,” he said.

“Around Lake Dartmouth there are no tracks, most of the country is largely inaccessible.

“We will still have rappel crews able to be dropped into remote fires and water bombers but this will let us get firefighters to these blazes earlier.”

Member for Benambra Bill Tilley and Victorian Environment Minister Ryan Smith launched the boat at Ludlow’s Reserve at Lake Hume yesterday.

Mr Tilley said the boat would complement the region’s fire-fighting capability and would help support a range of emergency services activities.

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