SYDNEY, Sept. 20 (Xinhua) -- A fire-fighting helicopter on Wednesday crashed into a dam in the Australian state of Queensland, but the pilot, also the sole occupant of the chopper, made an escape without injury.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) noted in a statement that the incident occurred in Tarome, a rural town in the state's southeast.
Shortly before 3:00 p.m. local time, the helicopter hit the water surface and rolled while collecting water from the dam. After the crash, the pilot escaped the wreckage and managed to swim to shore.
Paramedics are currently assessing the condition of the pilot, who is believed to be uninjured.
The emergency authority confirmed that the aircraft was deployed to help douse a vegetation fire in Tregony, which has been burning for the past several days. The authority has been dealing with the fire since Sept. 16.
"The cause of the crash is unknown at this time and QFES will assist the Australian Transport Safety Bureau with its investigation," said the authority.
After experiencing the warmest winter on record since 1910, Queensland saw the onset of an unseasonal heatwave in early spring, which elevated fire risks across the state.
Last updated at 7:30 p.m. local time on Wednesday, data from QFES showed that 39 bushfires are currently burning across Queensland.
With mercury forecast to climb over 30 degrees centigrade for most parts of the state on Thursday, the QFES has activated a local fire ban effective until Sunday for residents in Barcoo, a shire in the Channel Country region.
"Current fire conditions are perfect for bushfires to ignite and spread quickly," the QFES warned.
Australian Bureau of Meteorology Senior Meteorologist Miriam Bradbury said in a severe weather update that on Thursday, extreme fire dangers would be expected through the Channel Country of Queensland with a fire weather warning likely to be issued. ■