Meet the ACT's specialist, fast-response firefighting team that is being dropped into the territory's most rugged, inhospitable terrain to stop bushfires before they burn out of control.
The ACT Remote Area Fire Teams were created in the wake of the disastrous 2003 bushfires that killed four people and destroyed more than 500 homes.
Small teams of crack firefighters are airlifted into isolated fires burning deep in rugged scrub in the ACT and its surrounds.
The teams are usually dropped in to remote helipads or they are winched in, and use dry firefighting techniques or small portable water supplies to extinguish the flames.
RAFT member Adam Leavesley, who has also worked as a fire manager at Parks, Conservation and Lands, said getting to the fires rapidly was the key to reducing their severity.
''One way you can prevent fires from spreading and causing lots of damage is to get in and knock them over in the first couple of hours,'' Dr Leavesley said.
''So the team is set up with a crew of well qualified firefighters, with the expertise to get around in helicopters and work with helicopters, so they can get into places where it would have been very difficult to reach by road,'' he said.
Members of the RAFT team were training in a Rural Fire Service helicopter in preparation for the bushfire season at the Emergency Services Agency's site in Hume yesterday.
Dr Leavesley said the teams also spent a great deal of their time maintaining the remote helipads and winch spots located in the surrounding bush area, mostly in Namadgi National Park and the Brindabellas.
Ensuring the team can deploy safely and quickly at helipads and winch spots is crucial to getting to a fire before it begins to threaten Canberra's outskirts.
Time was of the essence, Dr Leavesley stressed, and being able to get to fire quickly with a small team and all the gear could often make all the difference to the people of the ACT.