Ecocopter expands forest firefighting operations

Ecocopter expands forest firefighting operations

28-Oct-2022 Source: Ecocopter

Seventy percent of Chilean territory, home to more than 7.5 million people, is susceptible to forest fires. For this reason, the government, in order to prevent this type of disaster, has allocated a budget of Ch$83,000 million, which will allow 62 aircraft and some 3,000 brigade members in 283 brigades, distributed between the regions of Atacama and Magallanes, to be on alert during the forest fire season in Chile.

Aerial combat and the transportation of brigade members on helicopter missions are essential to extinguish fires efficiently and quickly. “Ecocopter is recognized for its professionalism in fighting forest fires, supporting various public and private institutions in firefighting. Today, we are aware that the incidence of forest fires could increase, but our equipment and specialized crews are prepared to operate at any time and we are ready for it”, says Francisco Arriagada, Ecocopter’s Commercial Manager.

For this season, and starting in October, Ecocopter makes available to the requirements of CONAF, two aircraft, models AS350 B3/H125 operational for firefighting and will be on alert at the bases located in the Ñuble and Maule regions. However, in the coming months more of the company’s helicopters will be added to support the extinguishing of forest fires through different entities. 

The helicopters, specially adapted for this type of forest emergency missions, have the particularity that they can fly at low altitude, have power, stability, speed and a capacity to release up to 1,000 liters of water per discharge and transfer brigade members. 

“We have a complete support plan, increasing the availability of the fleet, equipment and preparation of the crews, in addition to operating with aircraft qualified to deal with this type of disaster. Each one of them has all the safety measures to contribute to extinguishing the fire and prevent the spread that causes so much damage to our country and to the people,” Arriagada emphasizes.

During the 2021-2022 season, 6,947 fires were registered with an affected area of 125,339 hectares. Today, the National Forestry Corporation has so far recorded 208 forest fires throughout Chile since July 1, when the 2022-2023 season began.  For this reason, and in the face of the climatic contingency, Ecocopter will continue to play a key role from the air, as it does every year.

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