Council begins bushfire-fighting drone test flights

Date published: 12 April 2024

Townsville has a new defence against bushfires with Council acquiring a new remotely piloted aircraft system which can carry water drums to difficult-to-reach areas during weather events like bushfires.

The drone will be used to support hazard reduction burns across Townsville and will be used to fight bushfires in mountainous areas like Castle Hill, Mount Louisa and Mount Stuart. This project has received grant funding from the Australian Government.

Test flights of the drone will begin on Monday and will run until the end of the week.

Flights will start at Oonoonba Park on Monday 15 April to Wednesday 17 April, requiring the closure of the park from 8am to 5pm daily during this period. Flying will be conducted over the oval, safely away from houses and infrastructure.

The second phase of test flights will start at Castle Hill on Thursday 18 and Friday 19 April from 8am to 4pm, requiring the complete closure of Castle Hill Road and walking tracks during this time.

Mayor Troy Thompson said the addition of the drone to Council’s arsenal would benefit the Townsville community during high risk weather.

“Council works alongside Queensland Fire and Emergency Services to combat bushfires and deliver hazard reduction burns. This new drone will help make it easier for Council to transport water drums to access tracks in these mountainous areas,” Cr Thompson said.

“As a Council it is our responsibility to promote world class liveability through excellent open spaces which promote, protect and encourage the use of our natural spaces, which is why we have worked with the Commonwealth Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources to secure funding for this much-needed piece of equipment.”

Visit our Community Safety pages for more information.