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Air tanker ‘Marie Bashir’ off to fight US wildfires

Jun 2, 2023

In an effort to extend a helping hand across borders, the New South Wales Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS) has dispatched the Large Air Tanker, the ‘Marie Bashir,’ from its home base at RAAF Richmond this morning. This iconic aircraft is set to embark on a critical three-month deployment to the United States, where it will provide vital aerial assistance during the upcoming fire season on the west coast.

The ‘Marie Bashir’ is renowned for its impressive firefighting capabilities, equipped with state-of-the-art technology and a skilled crew ready to tackle the most challenging blazes. As part of the international cooperation to combat wildfires, this deployment signifies the strong bond between firefighting agencies across the globe.

Beginning its journey today, the ‘Marie Bashir’ will first make its way to Pago Pago before reaching its layover destination in Hawaii for the night. From there, it will continue its transpacific journey, destined for the fire-prone state of California. The crew and aircraft will be stationed on the west coast, poised to swiftly respond to any emergency call that may arise.

This deployment stands as a testament to the dedication and commitment of the NSW RFS and its personnel particularly as fire seasons across the globe become longer and more intense.. 

With its extensive experience in battling wildfires, the NSW RFS has garnered international recognition for its expertise in aerial firefighting. The deployment of the ‘Marie Bashir’ reinforces the strong ties between firefighting agencies across continents, emphasizing the collective effort required to combat the devastating impact of wildfires. 

As the fire season approaches in the United States, the presence of the ‘Marie Bashir’ will bolster the firefighting capabilities of our American counterparts. The aircraft’s ability to deliver large amounts of fire retardant swiftly and precisely will play a crucial role in containing and extinguishing wildfires, safeguarding lives and property.

We wish the Marie Bashir a safe and successful mission.

Marie Bashir and crew leave RAAF Richmond for the US early today

Marie Bashir will be deployed in the US west coast for three months

The NSW RFS has a strong bond with international firefighting authorities sending help where its most needed



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