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RFS looks to the sky

NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) has received a new Aviation Airbase in Armidale, to transform aerial firefighting in the New England Area.

The $800,000 state of the art facility replaces the ramshackle collection of shipping containers and portaloos that they had been working out of previously. The region's hilly terrain and vast areas of bushland make aerial firefighting a vital tool in the RFS's toolbox during the warm summer months.

The new airbase has a fully equipped command centre where all aerial operations will be coordinated, a tanker bay, storage rooms, showers, toilets, workshop and a crew room where volunteers, pilots and crew can rest between shifts during the season.

Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall was on hand at the opening of the new facility.

"This project has been such a priority – to be able to offer our volunteers these basic comforts when they do get a break and to provide the best technical support for aerial firefighting operations in our region," said Mr Marshall.

“It’s a vast improvement on what was here previously and an investment worthy of the professionalism and efforts of the RFS volunteers and the pilots who do a tremendous job on the ground.”

During the local fire season’s peak, between October and December, RFS crews can battle around 460 fires in the region, with up to 35 firefighters at the airbase at any time.

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