The Australian government is spending an additional A$2.5 million ($1.9 million) to lease a third Erickson S-76 Air-Crane Helitanker firefighting helicopter.

The move reflects fears that the country's forthcoming summer season will bring further serious fires. The two existing Air-Cranes leased by the Australian government are based in Sydney and Melbourne, while the location for the third has yet to be decided.

The additional helicopter will be leased by the National Aerial Firefighting Centre, the central body established by the federal government and the states to nationally co-ordinate the leasing and allocation of aerial firefighting resources.

The federal government is providing A$16.5 million over three years to assist state governments to fund aerial firefighting equipment.

Source: Flight International