The company has a long history of working with the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS), National Parks & Wildlife (NPWS) and the ACT Fire agencies assisting with aerial support on bushfires.
During these times, if called upon, our MD500E helicopter (VH-MDE) switches to its tactical callsign and becomes FIREBIRD 225.
We provide air attack support (i.e. directing fixed wing and other helicopters onto property assets for water bombing), aerial mapping/surveillance using FLIR (Forward Looking InfraRed) camera technology to detect hot spots /fire activity and also general recon flights as needed. The MD500E is the ideal helicopter for this role due to it’s agility and speed.
During the unprecedented) 2019/2020 fire season, Firebird 225 assisted communities in the upper Hunter Valley (Gospers Mountain & Wollemi National Park fires), South Western Sydney (Green Wattle Fire), Fires at Buxton, Balmoral, Tahmoor, Bargo, Nowra & the Shoalhaven area (Morton & Currowan fire) including the Kangaroo Valley, the South Coast of NSW and finally finishing up on the fires in the ACT to the south of Canberra.
In 2021, Chief Pilot, Mark Fitzsimmons was awarded the National Emergency Medal (awarded by The Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia on behalf of HM Queen Elizabeth II). The nomination was put forward by the ACT Emergency Services Agency for aerial firefighting duties conducted on the devastating Orroral Valley bushfire in the Namadgi National Park (located to the south of our nation’s capital, Canberra).
“It was a summer that will never be forgotten, not only because of the devastation to people, communities, property and wildlife but also because of the way the helicopter industry, the fire agencies and thousands of people from all walks of life, all came together in the most terrible of circumstances and overcame great adversity. As a company, we are very proud of our association and the commitment we hold in helping the communities of NSW & the ACT today and in the future”. Mark Fitzsimmons (Owner/Chief Pilot: BLACK OPS).
FIREBIRD 225 refueling at the Hume Base (ACT) – 28th January 2020. The Orroral Valley fire to the South.
The view from FIREBIRD 225 on the evening of 31st January 2020 of the raging Orroral Valley fire south of Canberra.