16 Oct Fighting increasing number of wildfires
BAE Systems-built and supported BAe 146/Avro RJ Airtankers continue to play a pivotal role in combating the ever increasing numbers and costs of wildfires across North America.
By September this year wildfires in the USA had cost the United States Forest Service (USFS) $2.35 billion, topping the previous record set in 2015 of $2.13 billion for the complete year, according to US Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. So far this year 50,000 wildfires have been recorded, burning over 8.5 million acres of land and in Canada, costs of combating wildfires have risen in the last 10 years from about C$500 million a year to C$1 billion a year.
In Europe, according to statistics from the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS), by mid-August 2017 the number of forest fires in the European Union had reached over 1300 blazes, up dramatically from around 400 seen annually on average over the past eight years. The number of hectares burned in the same period has risen from an eight year average of around 150,000 to reach 550,000 so far this year.
To help combat North American wildfires this year Conair/Aero Flite has had seven RJ85s operating in the USA and one in British Columbia, Canada. They have flown over 206,000 miles (equivalent to eight times around the world), have made 2,200 drops of retardant totalling 19.6 million litres (equivalent to eight Olympic swimming pools).
In addition, Conair will once again be sending an RJ85 Airtanker to Australia under contract to the State of Victoria for the December – March fire season ‘down under’.
The Neptune Aviation Services’ BAe 146 fleet has already surpassed more than 2800 missions (compared to 2347 for the whole of 2016 when it dropped over seven million gallons of retardant) and the company anticipates total BAe 146 hours to exceed 3500 hours for the year. Between early February and early March Neptune will supply a BAe 146 to help combat wildfires in Chile.