GFMC: Czech Flying Firefighting Group

Czech Flying Firefighting Group

The Czech Flying Firefighting Group offers the following aircraft for forest fire and other wildland fire suppression:

  • Z-137T (Turboprop)

STOL 1000 litres (2 aircrafts)

  • M-17 Dromader

STOL 2200 litres (2 aircrafts)

  • AN-2

STOL 1350 litres (6 aircrafts and 12 smokejumpers)

  • Z-37/A/C3 Bumblebee

STOL 1 pilot plus 2 observers

  • B-12 Gull (Beriev)

Amphibian 6500 litres, 12 hours on task (to be available in the near future). For general information on Russian amphibian fire fighting planes: See website of Beriev Aircraft Company.

All aircraft have experienced pilots, crews and aerial observers. As “short take off and landing” (STOL) aircraft short grass strips are required. Mobilization: 2 to 3 hours after reuqest, depending on distances.


Radovan Talacko
Pilot Observer
Sturzeneggstr. 19
CH – 9015 St. Gallen

Tel: +41-71-311-3270
Fax: +41-71-311-3270
Emergency mobile phone: ++41-79-648-4651


Z-137T  (27 KB)

Test drop from a Z-137T in Switzerland

Z-137T  (19 KB)

Close-up view of the Z-137T

Z-37A C3   (25 KB)

Fire observation and lead plane Z-37A C3


GFMC: CSA RADARSAT-1 Disaster Watch

CSA RADARSAT-1 Disaster Watch

As part of its Disaster Watch Program, the CanadianSpace Agency (CSA)is undertaking the initiative of sending out E-mail notices to the individualsand organizations interested in knowing about RADARSAT-1 coverage of natural orhuman made disasters, which occur almost daily around the world. The objectiveof this notice, to be entitled “CSA RADARSAT-1 Disaster Watch”, is toinform the potential users in a timely manner of the valuable space-based dataand information that is available, and which may assist in coping with thesedisasters and mitigating their effects.

Through the “CSA RADARSAT-1 Disaster Watch”notice, information can be received concerning all of the RADARSAT-1 images thathave been acquired under the Disaster Watch Program. This information includes:

·                    the part of theworld which was imaged (which city, country, sea, etc…) 

·                    the type ofdisaster that occurred there (i.e.: volcano eruption, wildland fireetc…) 

·                    the date andtime each image was acquired 

·                    the RADARSAT-1beam mode that was used to image the area 

·                    the RADARSAT-1cycle that the satellite was in at the time of acquisition 

·                    the RADARSAT-1orbit that the satellite was in at the time of acquisition 

·                    the duration ofthe acquisition (corresponds to how much of the area was imaged at thattime) 

·                    whether theimage was downlinked in real time or stored on the onboard recorder until thesatellite was within range of a receiving station 

·                    which receivingstation the image was downlinked to


Some of the images mentioned in the “CSARADARSAT-1 Disaster Watch” notice will have been acquired as part of the”Space and Major Disasters” international charter. Visit the Charterat the following address:

Any such images will be identified in both the e-mailand in our Disaster Watch Archive. Please note that an Email will be receivedonly on those days that data has been acquired under the Disaster Watch Program.

The RADARSAT-1 Disaster Watch Archive is a large,searchable database containing data acquired under the Disaster Watch Program.Interested users are invited to explore this tool by visiting our website at thefollowing address:


Information is given here how RADARSAT-1 data can beordered. In order to be included as part of the CSA RADARSAT-1 Disaster Watchdistribution list contact Disaster Watch by sending an e-mail to



Daedalus Airborne Bispectral Imager for mapping complex fires

Angiel EnviroSafe provides airborne fire mapping. For this the company utilizes a twin engine Piper Aztec equipped with a Daedalus ABS (Airborne Bispectral Imager) imaging system. This system has one band in the thermal IR at 8.5 to 12.5 microns and it has a very wide 86 degree field of view.


Fig.1. Daedalus ABS package

The equipment is based in the US and can be flown to most American and European sites. It can be sent by commercial airline for mounting on local aircraft at more distant locations. The only requirements are a camera hole and a 28 Volt power supply.


Fig.2. Fire mapping by Daedalus: A fire map in the Western US produced by the US Forest Service

Long term positioning or relocations are very possible, e.g. in Europe (the owner is a citizen of the EC).


Mr. Pierre Angiel
Cell phone: +1-786 897-5562
Angiel EnviroSafe website:




International Charter Space and Major Disasters

Following the UNISPACE III conference held in Vienna, Austria in July 1999, the European and French space agencies (ESA and CNES) initiated the International Charter Space and Major Disasters, with the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) signing the Charter on October 20, 2000. The International Charter was declared formally operational on 1 November 2000. In September of 2001, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) also became members of the Charter. The Argentine Space Agency (CONAE) became a member in July 2003. An authorized user can now call a single number to request the mobilization of the space and associated ground resources (RADARSAT, ERS, SPOT) of the three agencies to obtain data and information on a disaster occurrence. A 24-hour on-duty operator receives the call and helps the user put together the preliminary information. Website of the Charter:

Assistance through the UN Outer Office for Space Affairs (UNOOSA)

As a Cooperating Body to the Charter UNOOSA can request imagery on behalf of the UN system to deal with emergency response. If you are part of the UN system and have a need for imagery to deal with disasters or would be interested in receiving more information please send an email to

For further information please see the UNOOSA website on the Charter:

The website of UNOSAT provides the humanitarian community with access to satellite imagery and GIS services:

Assistance through the GFMC

In case of fire emergencies the Global Fire Monitoring Center is available to support acquisition of satellite data for non-authorized countries through the Focal Point Germany. Please use the GFMC Emergency Hotlines.

Other Providers of Satellite Data

GFMC: Polish Fire Fighting Aircraft Dromader Internationally Available

Polish Fire Fighting Aircraft Dromader Internationally Available

At BALTEX FIRE 2000 it has been agreed with Polskie Zaklady Lotnice to publish a list of operators of the PZL M-18 DROMADER agricultural and fire-fighting aircraft. M-18 aircraft (STOL) have a load capacity of 2500 litres.

PZL M-18 Operators List



Related Information for International Wildfire Emergency Assistance:

International Agreements | Satellite Data | Operators and Equipment | Exercises

Establishment of Contact with UN-OCHA or GFMC

In view of the extended wildfires in South East Asia and the Americas in 1997-98, in Africa, the Mediterranean region and the United States of America in 2000, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) / UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA) Joint Environment Unit, Emergency Services Branch and the Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC) recognized the need for improved cooperation in preparedness, early warning, information dissemination and response to wildland fire emergencies. In March 2001 Joint Interface procedures between UNEP-OCHA and the GFMC have been signed and have been proven effective since then.

In case of a large wildland fire incident that threatens national resources and/or international interests and thus requires response by the international community, the country affected may call assistance through the Joint UNEP/OCHA Environment Unit, Emergency Services Branch through the following communication links:

During regular working hours, the preferred manner of notification is by facsimile, although telephone or other means of communication, as given below, may be used as appropriate. The contact information for communicating with the Joint UNEP/OCHA Environment Unit, Emergency Services Branch is as follows:


Emergency Preparedness and Environment Section
Joint UNEP/OCHA Environment Unit, Emergency Services Branch
Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Palais des Nations, Bureau 144
CH 1211 Geneva 10

Fax: +41-22-917-0257

Telephone: +41-22-917-1934 /1815 / 3484 / 2208

Telephone in case of emergency (only, to be used outside regular office hours (Geneva local time is UTC + 2hrs): +41-22-917-2010


UNEP/OCHA Environmental Emergencies Response: Joint Environment Unit biannual reports (with GFMC contributions):

For international fire emergencies the GFMC cooperates with UN OCHA and on any other request by providing:

  • Background information on the ecological, social and cultural fire environment of the region or country concerned
  • Fire intelligence data (satellite imageries available from various sources)
  • Early warning of fires, fire-weather predictions
  • Contact persons in the countries affected
  • Liaise with the joint UNEP-OCHA unit
  • Liaise with regional and international fire experts

This service is available to support information flow to officially ongoing emergency response through UN OCHA and other international mechanisms and procedures. Since February 2005 the GFMC is associated and closely working with the United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) Team. Since 2014 the GFMC is serving as Interim Secretariat of the International Wildfire Preparedness Mechanism (IWPM) and offers a number of tools that may either be used directly online or be requested for implementation by interested parties.

The following GFMC hotlines should be used only for requesting emergency assessment and national wildland fire management support.

Contact: Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC)

Fax: +49-761-808012

Telephone: +49-761-808011

Telephone in case of emergency only to be used outside regular office hours:

+49-170 2 34 74 84

Satellite Telephone (Iridium) during emergency field operations (if activated):



GFMC Website:

Please note: The GFMC is located in Germany. Local German time is UTC (GMT) + 2 hours

GFMC: Global Emergency Response

Global Emergency Response (20 KB)

Global Emergency Response is the unique commercial alliance of:

  • Air Routing International Corporation, Houston, Texas, USA;
  • EMERCOM (The Ministry of the Russian Federation for Civil Defense, Emergencies and Elimination of Consequences of Natural Disasters), Moscow, Russia, CIS;
  • Ilyushin Aviation Joint Stock Co Ltd, Moscow, Russia, CIS; and
  • Total Corporate Aviation Services Ltd, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Bringing together an operation seeking to deploy internationally the largest and demonstrably most potent and effective fire-fighting aircraft in the world.

(28 KB)

The Ilyushin 76TD “waterbomber” (Il-76)
Photo: courtesy of El Centro de Entrenamiento de Bomberos Profesionales de Peru



Tom Robinson
Global Emergency Response
Chief Administrator

Jose Musse
Global Emergency Response
Ibero-American Representative

To ensure you are on the mailing list to receive regular press release material:
John Anderson
Global Emergency Response
Press Officer

Global Emergency Response Website:


Il-76 Technical Detail

image35.gif (38516 Byte)The Il-76, unlike all other fire-fighting aircraft in current use, is a turbo-fan jet. Primarily, it is a heavy-lift aircraft widely in use globally in civilian, military and disaster mitigation operations. The 11,000-US gallon (42,000-litre) VAP2 twin tanking system with gravity release makes the aircraft ideally suited to combating large forest fires and severe oil spill dispersal.

The military requirement characteristics ensure it has suitability for battlefield conditions, with short take off/land capabilities even on unimproved grass strips. A 20-wheel undercarriage gives the aircraft a tremendously “light footprint”. Recommended runway length is 6000 feet (1850 meters), absolute only when the aircraft is fully laden with fuel and payload (a full 11,000-gallon payload would be substantially less than maximum).

The range of the aircraft is 3000+ miles (5000 kilometers) with a cruising speed of 500mph (800kph or 430 knots). (22 KB)In drop mode the Il-76 travels at 300 feet (90 meters) above ground level at a speed of 175mph (280kph or 151 knots). This drop speed is exactly the same speed as all other waterbomber, fire-fighting aircraft; the height above ground is marginally greater, giving increased safety, whilst not compromising load dispersion. Liquids descend vertically, as rain, ensuring even penetration of forest canopy and optimal effect on forest floor.

The dual tanking system gives the opportunity to release the payload in either consecutive or simultaneous mode. In a consecutive(26 KB) mode the aircraft would release the 11,000-gallon payload over an area 3950 feet (1.2 kilometers) by 295 feet (90 meters). For greater potency, the simultaneous mode releases a full payload over an area 1800 feet (550 meters) by 325 feet (100 meters). A drop pass will release a full payload in one 8–10 second pass with water, or a 15-20 second pass with retardant additive. The Il-76 can be loaded with a full payload in 15 minutes ready for take-off. Monsanto Phos-Chek WD 881 is certified for use with the Il-76, other retardant additives are suitable for certification. A new tanking system currently in development by Ilyushin Aviation will give a higher payload of 15,000 gallons and a variable release.

The aircraft is equipped with heat-seeking devices and associated computer-driven fire data simulations providing assistance with aiming the drop for maximum effect on mass fire.

Leading edge wing designs and special flaps together with high-lift devices and thrust reversers on each of the four very powerful engines allow for low, slow flight, and safe landings on remote, rough and generally shorter runways.  These are ideal features for remote drop missions of any kind including, for example, dropping relief supplies bundles, pre-fabricated hospitals, oil spill containment equipment, and the like.

(40 KB) image38.gif (19912 Byte)

This emergency response service aircraft comes complete with a fully experienced, qualified and certified EMERCOM crew of eight, ground fire-fighting crew if required, spares for fix-and-fly servicing and full pumping equipment for tank filling. (21 KB)

Such capabilities give this remarkable aircraft considerable advantages over the other great fire-fighting aircraft. The Martin Mars is capable of releasing 7200 gallons, and is reputed to have never lost a fire, but only 2 aircraft are left in existence and these are reported to be retiring. The C-130 Hercules, more regularly in use in fire fighting, has a capacity of 3000 gallons. Both of these aircraft, indeed all other fire-fighting planes are of turbo-prop propulsion.

With many other fire-fighting planes being of 1950s technology, and with no new large-volume waterbombing capability aircraft currently on the drawing board, or modern comparative aircraft suitable for conversion, the future of large fire mitigation is the Ilyushin 76TD “waterbomber”. Essentially, this service is a stand alone, fully integrated service for combating large forest and wildland fire, as well as a range of other disaster and emergency response missions.




In 1994, by Presidential Decree, President Boris Yeltsin directed that the Ministry of the Russian Federation for Civil Defense, Emergencies and Elimination of Consequences of Natural Disasters (EMERCOM) should be created, and appointed Sergei Kozhugetovich Shoigu as Minister. Minister Shoigu, of Tuvan ethnic background, would appear to have been a particularly creative choice by Yeltsin, being a politician who continues to be widely adored by the Russian people.

In the first half of 1994, Russian disasters had shown a near one-third increase over the same period of the previous year. 20,000 people were affected with close to 1200 fatalities, and significantly, included six nuclear plant emergencies. In 1996, an early use by EMERCOM saw the Il-76 in response to a blazing oil lake fire in Volgograd. EMERCOM has won the affection of the Russian nation with the work performed following the Moscow bomb-blasts that were attributed to Chechen rebels.

The EMERCOM team entered the international arena of extreme complex and non-complex emergency response with teams responding to humanitarian needs in Bosnia, the January 1999 Colombian earthquake and the August 1999 Istanbul earthquake. The teams may not have had the crisp uniforms or even the sophisticated equipment of other international response teams but proved as professional and capable as any. In 2000 the Il-76 facilitated the humanitarian effort of EMERCOM to Mozambique. To date EMERCOM has responded to emergencies in nearly 60 countries around the globe.

The future of EMERCOM is seen to be in the international arena as well as the domestic. National border controls hinder the work of non-complex emergency response teams. Sergei Shoigu believes that an international response team under the auspices of the United Nations should be created. EMERCOM and its ‘extreme machine’ the Ilyushin 76TD “waterbomber” would be an integral part of that agency. In EMERCOM, “we have developed a professional and efficient system that has saved more than 50,000 lives, and we are very proud of this achievement.” Sergei Shoigu, EMERCOM Minister (extract from an interview with The Moscow Times).


GFMC: Helion Procopter Industries

helion-2.gif (3125 Byte) Helion Procopter Industries

Helion Procopter Industries GmbH is a German-Russian joint venture of the companies Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant, Kazan Helocopter Plant, Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant, and W. Wibbelt GmbH, Bitburg, Germany. Helion Procopter is a disarmament project for conversion of helicopters to civil use. Besides commercial helicopter versions (cargo, passenger, VIP transport) Helion Procopter offers services for fire fighting and rescue. The use of the Mi-171/172 helicopter together with a demonstration aerial wildland fire brigade and the VSU Water Bucket (3 to 4.5 m3) has been exercised with the Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC). The pictures below were taken at a demonstration in Freiburg (Germany), 29 September 2000, at the First German Forum on Disaster Reduction.

For more commercial information contact Helion Procopter at:


Helion Procopter Industries GmbH
Heinrich-Hertz-Str. 10
D-54634 Bitburg

Tel: +6561-9498-20
Fax: +6561-9498-44


(22 KB)

Mi-171/172 helicopter of Helion Procopter

(22 KB)

Demonstration aerial fire response crew

(24 KB)

Mi-171/172 helicopter dropping 3 m3 water using the VSU Water Bucket


GFMC: International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG)

insarag.gif (1375 Byte) UN International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG)

INSARAG is an inter-governmental network under the United Nations umbrella, which deals with urban search and rescue (USAR) and related disaster response issues. Its purpose is to provide a platform for information exchange in order to define standards for international USAR assistance and to develop methodology for international cooperation and coordination in earthquake response. INSARAG includes earthquake-prone countries as well as traditional providers of international assistance.

Experience has shown that secondary effects of natural and technogenic disasters require additional specialist advice in conjunction with SAR response and other humanitarian aid missions. This is particularly important at the interface between wildlands and urban and other residential areas interface where wildland fires constitute a major problem for urban populations. Related hazards also include the smoke pollution caused by wildland fires which is threatening public health in urban and other residential areas.

At the INSARAG Regional Group Africa/Europe meeting in December 1999 (Germany) a first proposal was elaborated to establish an INSARAG Fire Group consisting of three subgroups:

  • Wildland Fire
  • Hazardous Materials (Hazmat)
  • Industrial Fire

At a meeting at the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA) in January 2000 it was agreed that the original mandate of INSARAG which in addition to search and rescue would also covers wider aspects of disaster/emergency response. This could include a variety of natural and human-made disasters, including wildland fires. INSARAG would assist in strengthening UN-OCHA’s role by:

  • Governmental experts advisory support in case of a major emergency 
  • Advisory experts to be provided out of the INSARAG family covering many fields of disaster relief 

At the foundation meeting of INSARAG Fire it was recommended:

  • INSARAG-Fire is a global network of specialists in dealing with industrial fire, wildland fire and HAZMAT incidents affecting populations and the environment 
  • INSARAG-Fire is organized in regional nodes 
  • INSARAG-Fire has been initiated by a Starting Core Group of INSARAG Europe-Africa and will seek the establishment of Fire groups in the INSARAG Americas and Asia-Pacific regions. 
  • Activation of involvement of existing international structures by calling on wildland fire expertise of international organizations and individuals already in place will be coordinated through the Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC) network 
  • Encourage a continuous exchange of information through the Internet, initially utilizing the GFMC network

At BALTEX FIRE 2000 the meeting of the FAO/ECE/ILO Fire Team further elaborated on the formation of the INSARAG Fire Group and particularly on wildland fire activities. The final format of INSARAG Fire was agreed upon at the INSARAG Regional Group Africa/Europe Meeting (Tunisia, November 2000).

Following the recommendations of the 2002 INSARAG Regional Group Africa/Europe Meeting (Revinge, Sweden, April 2002) it was recommended to review the Fire Group and to investigate alternative arrangements outside of INSARAG. One of the main reasons for discontinuing the Fire Group was the UN General Assembly  Resolution A/57/L.60 on Strengthening the Effectiveness and Coordination of International Urban Search and Rescue Assistance (adopted in December 2002). The resolution encourages the international community to strengthen cooperation in search and rescue after earthquakes only.

Following the GA Resolution a Fire Group meeting was held at the GFMC (Freiburg, Germany, 7 February 2003).

In April 2003 the INSARAG Steering Committee and the Regional Africa/Europe Group decided to discontinue the work of the Fire Group.

The GFMC is investigating future collaborative arrangements in international wildland fire disaster response under the umbrella of the Advisory Group on Environmental Emergencies (AGEE). Update information will be provided by end of May 2003.