Aerial firefighting is a key component in the effective combating of wildfires in South Africa. Whilst the spotter aircraft enable Incident Commanders to take informed decisions and properly coordinate other resources, the bomber aircraft offer much needed support to the wildland firefighting crew battling flames on the ground.
By dousing flames with water and chemical suppressants, Working on Fire’s firefighting pilots cool down the fire line, enabling ground teams to get closer and extinguish the flames. Through this collaboration of air and ground resources, Working on Fire is able to help protect lives, properties and the environment from the devastating effects of unwanted wildfires.
“We go to great lengths to ensure that all our bases are fully operational and ready to assist if and when needed,” says Mike Assad, National WOF Aviation Manager. “We realise that large parts of South Africa are still experiencing a measure of drought and we are therefore extra vigilant.”
Over the previous two fire seasons, 2017/2018 Winter and 2018 Summer Fire Season (May 2017 until April 2018) WOF Aviation flew in excess of 2,000 hours, assisting in combating 250 wildfires across South Africa – of which a number of fires ran over multiple days. WOF Aviation was also very involved in combating the devastating Knysna Fires.
*Photo Credit: Dean Wingrin