Delivering complex aerial firefighting missions across Spain and the Iberian peninsula
Babcock’s role in firefighting missions is twofold: relay real-time tactical information back to the Advanced Command Post and douse the flames with retardant from the air.
Our modifications and upgrades provide the firefighting aircraft with the capability to monitor fire behaviour and its evolution, relaying this information back to the strategic coordination team on the ground. Using cameras and monitoring equipment attached to our aircraft, we can take real-time images and infrared maps of the active perimeter, giving the team on the ground a bird’s eye view of the situation to inform their extinguishing strategy.
As soon as our assistance is required in fighting a fire, we need to travel to a water source so that our pilots can start their water drops. Often this will be a large lake or body of sea that is close enough to the fire location to keep the fetch and carry times to a minimum. Over the course of an aerial firefighting mission, we can drop thousands of litres of water and do hundreds of round trips. In a recent mission, one of our firefighting aircraft flew from the water source to the fire and back again over 100 times, stopping to refuel 4 times, with the overall operation lasting 8 hours.
Fighting fires from the air is an extremely complex and dangerous operation which is why Babcock’s aviation expertise and focus on safety is so important to our customers. From the additional weight taken on when scooping water to the lack of visibility due to smoke at the fire site, our firefighting pilots are highly trained, highly skilled and highly experienced in all the unpredictable circumstances that can arise in an aerial firefighting operation.