Water-bombing pilots ‘consistently tasked too late’ when fighting bushfires, royal commission hears

Aircraft chief describes frustration at losing vital time while inquiry also told firefighter radios in different areas ‘largely incompatible’

Pilots flying water-bombing aircraft are “consistently tasked too late for fires” and sit idle on the tarmac until conditions worsen, the royal commission into national natural disaster arrangements has been told.

The inquiry also heard that the radio networks used by firefighting agencies in each jurisdiction are “largely incompatible” with each other and the lack of national coordination meant that resources were not always used effectively.

Related: Australians say ABC saved lives during summer bushfires, royal commission told

Related: Australia’s severe bushfire season was predicted and will be repeated, inquiry told

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