Since 1983 a system of airborne forest fire suppression is operational in Poland. This system is financed by the state forests. In 1990 a total of 14 air bases were available. On each base two to four M-18 Dromader survey/extinguishing aircraft and one survey aircraft PZL 104 Wilga, Zlin, Morawa or a MI-2 helicopter are stationed, altogether 54 aircraft nationwide. A total of 11,337 hours of flying were accomplished during survey and fire suppression tasks. In 1990 MI-2 helicopters with “Bambi” helibuckets (capacity 540 l of liquids) were successfully tested. It is now planned to use Sokol (WSK Swidnik) helicopters with a higher payload up to 1500 l. It is also planned to increase the number of air attack bases. The multi-purpose airplanes and the fire-fighting squadrons are used in various forestry tasks during the whole year (e.g. silviculture, protection), thus improving their economic efficiency considerably.
Fig.1. Polish M-18 “Dromader” dropping its water load on forest fire
Forest Fire Control Section Forest Research Institute ul. Bitwy Warszawskieij 1920 roku nr.3 PL – 00-973 Warsaw