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  • Lighting fire by helicopter by Niclas Börjeson
    Lighting fire by helicopter by Niclas Börjeson
    Lighting fire by helicopter by Niclas Börjeson
    Lighting fire by helicopter by Niclas Börjeson
    Lighting fire by helicopter by Niclas Börjeson
Helicopters are frequently used to fight fires, but they are also capable
of lighting fires in a controlled manner. HeliAir Sweden has recently
added fire lighting to its range of services.
© Per Trane© Per TraneFire has always been a natural, and healthy, part of the life in a forest, but raging wildfires poses a big threat to lives and property these days. In order to minimize the risks, wildland managements are staging prescribed burnings in order to stimulate the forest. A prescribed burning is a professionally controlled fire that serves to renew the forest and its natural ecosystem in a desired area. It is primarily used as a type of scarification, in order to facilitate reforestation and increase biodiversity after harvesting, but also for receiving environmental certification.

In the spring of 2014 HeliAir Sweden was issued a formal approval for airborne fire lighting by the Swedish Transport Agency following a period of tests and evaluations. The first couple of jobs took place near the city of Hudiksvall, at the Swedish east coast.

The method has been around for a long time and it is used worldwide, however, it is not particularly common in Sweden these days. Traditional ground based burnings are very labor intensive, and they are usually carried out during the most hot and hazardous periods in the summer. By lighting prescribed fires from the air, the project is provided with higher ignition capability and the lighting can be conducted at periods with low fire hazard.

HeliAir uses a team of helicopters in order to light the fire and to control the fire once it is up and running. The fire is lit in a precise manner by the use of specially adapted fire lighting equipment fitted to the helicopter. It is then supervised and put out by other helicopters that are equipped with water buckets.

Here are a few images from the spring of 2014.
© Per Trane© Per Trane© Per Trane© Per Trane© Per Trane© Per Trane© Per Trane© Per Trane
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