Chile — INAER Helicopter Chile has once again this year reinforced its fleet of aircraft for the 2012-2013 firefighting campaign with helicopters from the now-completed summer campaign in Spain and Portugal.
During the summer, INAER maintains six operative bases throughout the country for fire prevention and fighting, with a fixed fleet that this year is composed of two Bell 407s, one Bell 412, a Eurocopter AS 350 B3 and two Kamov Ka-32s, and a team of qualified professionals with considerable firefighting experience.
During his visit to the Trilahue Air Base, Ricardo Rivera, leader of the Forest Protection Committee (Wood Corporation), said, “This is Forestal Mininco’s fourth year with a Kamov helicopter in order to fight forest fires, as well as another support Kamov for when the emergency requires it.
The Kamovs are the largest, and one of the most efficient and powerful aircraft used in firefighting. They are capable of transporting 5,000 liters (1,320 gallons) of water, and they take just 10 seconds to load and 15 seconds to release all the water.
Moreover, according to INAERs commander in Chile, the Kamovs coaxial main rotor system makes the helicopter less susceptible to the typical winds on forest fires: when the others are grounded, the Kamov continues to function and dispense water.
This year, for the first time, INAER has incorporated a Bell 412 into the forest fire campaign in Chile, at the Nacimiento Air Base, which is providing support to the Helicopter Brigade of Forestal Mininco. This helicopter stands out for its great transportation capacity, up to 15 people including the crew.
So far, the firefighting campaign has been very positive, as forest fires in the country have fallen by almost 90 percent compared to last year and, though the provinces of Concepción, Ñuble and Biobío remain on amber alert, the burnt surface area is considerably lower.