The Hunter is will have another weapon in its firefighting arsenal this bushfire danger period.

The federal government has announced it will be funding the $4 million lease of a large airtanker to boost aerial firefighting muscle, with a capacity to drop more than 15,000 litres of retardant or water. 

Federal Member for Lyne Dr David Gillespie says it’s in addition to an already existing large fleet of specialised aircraft.

“We already have a variety of fixed wings, spotters and other firefighting equipment like helicopters with buckets and huge vertical lift capability. There is also smaller planes that can douse, but this is a big tanker with huge capacity and used on a really critical burn, can douse it out well and truly,” Dr Gillespie said.

The bushfire danger period is already under way in parts of the Upper Hunter including in Muswellbrook and Singleton. The remaining Lower Hunter local government areas are expected to start their bushfire danger period in October.