In Queensland, there are currently 80 active fires, with warnings for residents to leave immediately from various locations. In New South Wales, 76 fires remain actice, with most at ‘watch and act’ or ‘advice’ level. However, Rural Fire Service commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said severe conditions forecast for the weekend would be followed by another burst of hot air next week, meaning crews ‘simply aren’t going to get the upper hand on all of these fires’.
The crash landing of the fire bombing helicopter occurred as the pilot attempted to land in high winds. The pilot was injured and evacuated to hospital by a rescue helicopter. From images seen online, the helicopter seems to have suffered catastrophic damage during the crash landing. Regan Draheim, Acting Inspector of the Queensland Police, commented on the accident: “He is a very experienced pilot. He’s obviously done what he’s seen best to try and recover the aircraft and to save his own life.” He added that aerial firefighters put themselves in ‘treacherous situations’ to save the lives of others.