In the event of a bushfire, State and Territory Governments are responsible for protecting life, property and the environment and coordinating an emergency response or recovery within their own jurisdictions.

Australia has well-practiced processes for using civilian fire-fighting aircraft during a bushfire. This is coordinated by the National Aerial Firefighting Centre (NAFC), which was formed in 2003 to provide a cooperative national arrangement for combating bushfires. This aircraft fleet complements aerial firefighting resources arranged directly by State and Territory Governments. The NAFC receives funding support from the Federal Government and plays a key role in developing national protocols for aerial firefighting, and ensuring aerial firefighting resources are shared between emergency service and land management agencies.

Defence does not maintain aircraft or equipment for aerial bush firefighting, and has not been directed by Government to establish any such capabilities. Defence focuses on providing support that aligns with its core qualifications, skills and resources. Ground based and aerial bushfire fighting is a highly specialised field requiring dedicated equipment and training that, in general, Defence does not have.

When requested by Emergency Management Australia, Air Force may be able to provide logistics support to State firefighting agencies such as refueling civilian firefighting aircraft and providing water for firefighting efforts at Bases. Air Force can also provide accommodation and meals to State and Territory firefighting personnel to reduce travel time and increase rest periods between shifts.