PORTLAND, Ore., March 07, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Erickson Incorporated, a leading global provider of aviation services, has recently been contracted by the National Forest Corporation or CONAF (Corporación Nacional Forestal) to help battle one of the worst wildfire seasons in the history of Chile.
High temperatures, strong winds and drought have contributed to a series of fires since November, and a massive wildfire worsened when it converged with the town of Santa Olga, where several people perished and more than 1,000 buildings burned. The Chilean President Michelle Bachelet calls the fires, “the greatest forest disaster in the country’s history” and officials estimate that more than 700,000 acres have burned. The fires are yet another challenge for a country riddled with recent floods and earthquakes.
Andrew Mills, vice president of Business Development has been in Chile and observes, “The people of Chile really need our help with fires that are far beyond the normal scope of the fire season, and they have been very pleased to see the immediate effectiveness of the Aircrane.”
Erickson has signed a 90 day contract for the Aircrane, the pilots and crew. Each of Erickson’s Aircranes have a nickname, and the assigned aircraft is named, “Elvis” which is the best known of Erickson’s aircraft due to heroic firefighting feats performed by its crew in Australia six years ago, saving many lives and homes during large bushfires.
The Erickson S-64 Aircrane, equipped with a heli-tanker, is well known for its firefighting capability. The tank on the Aircrane can hold and drop 2,650 gallons (7,500 liters) of water or fire retardant on fires in a single pass. With specialized snorkels, the Aircrane can also refill the tank in nearby bodies of water in less than 30 seconds. Water also can be trucked in and held in large pumpkin-shaped tanks to be snorkeled out by our expert pilots. This is an advantage over fixed-wing aircraft that must return to an airport to reload. The Aircrane can also drop water with pinpoint accuracy and help save homes and businesses in the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI). This technique is also valuable for support to the firefighters on the ground to help keep them safe from life-threatening situations.
Erickson is a leading global provider of aviation services and operates, maintains and manufactures utility aircraft to safely transport…