Scooping aircraft in place in case of wild fires
The Swedish scooping aircraft are now in place ahead of the forest fire season. The timeframe is from first of April until October 30th and can respond to fires in both Sweden and the EU.
– The preparedness is continuously adapted based on risk of fire in the country. The aircraft, if needed, are also expected to be deployed to other EU member states, as they are part of the joint preparedness, says Petronella Norell, head of the National and Civil Protection Operations Section, MSB.
The smaller scooping aircraft can reinforce emergency services with aerial forest fire fighting.. The aircraft are located at Skavsta airport outside of Nyköping and are ready to operate within 180 minutes. If needed they can be based at other sites. The aircraft was a new capacity last year and were deployed five times.
Can be used in both Sweden and the EU
The smaller scooping aircraft are included in rescEU, the European safety net with common EU capacities, financed by the EU. Sweden is the capacity host. The aircraft may be used in other European member states during the forest fire season.
The agreement between MSB and Saab AB provides two scooping aircraft with associated crew and necessary maintenance and logistics. The framework contract allows for an option with two additional scooping aircraft for the period 2021-2023, an option that MSB now has activated.
– According to the agreement between Sweden and EU, the capacity is operational from April to October.. The forest fire season has started early the last two years. MSB has been activated helicopters to extinguish fires as early as April. With the inclusion of two more scooping aircraft creates a more robust capacity and improves the flexibility. Simultaneous operations in different geographic areas are now possible, says Petronella Norell.
Helicopters, pumps and other equipment
Beyond the smaller scooping aircraft, MSB can also deploy helicopters to aid the emergency services. There is also 14 depots located around Sweden. The depots stock necessary equipment for fire extinguishing such as fire hoses, sprayers and chainsaws. MSB also has access to high-capacity pumps able to transport water across large distances.
– It is important that everyone contribute to not starting new fires. If you are going to use fire in forests, you are obliged to be aware of local regulations. Use the app Brandrisk Ute to stay up to date about local restrictions, says Petronella Norell.