FPL’s Fearless Fleet: End of Season Wrap Up

That’s a wrap! Today marks the official end of fire season for our operations this year. Starting the 1st of May, our seasonal aerial firefighting teams are now done for the year! We will now start to transition into planning for our next operational season. 

FIRE FIGHTING MISSION STATS

This year, our fearless fleet responded to a total of 13 firefighting missions. Our biggest fire response was the “Pellerin Fire” located in Kent County, southwest of Bouctouche in June. This fire required three separate missions on numerous days from our teams. Because the province of NB works with FPL to strike fires quickly before they grow too far out of control, the biggest fire in terms of hectares was the “Benjamin Road Fire” burning over 63 Ha. 

FPL air tanker

FIRE PRACTICE TRAINING 

To ensure our tanker pilots maintain accuracy and efficiency when doing water or retardant drops, we regularly coordinated with DNRED and the Provincial Forest Fire Centre for fire practice training. Pilots who had not completed drops in 10+ days were scheduled to simulate a fire call-out procedure. 

FPL AT-802 in flight

SURPRISE COORDINATES

Three predetermined practice locations were set at the beginning of the year. These coordinates would allow variance in reload bases, and the ability to practice drops in different terrains and locations. The locations would be a “surprise” to all participating in the fire practice, until receiving the mission requirements from DNRED. 

Due to a low number of fires this season, our teams did a total of 15 in-season fire practices. Not only are the fire practices great opportunity to practice drops – it provides pilots with an opportunity to train on new aircraft, as well as learn new skills. This year, we trained several pilots on bird-dogging (reconnaissance) and were able to get ample opportunity to use these newly learned skills in the fire practices.  

ACTION SHOTS

Without special cameras, we are unfortunately unable to capture a lot of the work that we do. This year, some of the fire responses we made were close to local homes and public roadways. A couple of local photographers were able to capture some great action shots of the work that we do and were kind enough to share with our pilots and partner organizations.

 

2022 FIRE SEASON

As we wrap up for the 2021 season, we would like to extend a huge thank you to all our pilots, our fire operations crew, our maintenance team, and our partners. Thank you for your dedication to keeping our forests safe!

If you are interested in joining our Fearless Fleet, be sure to follow us on social media to see our job postings that will be available for our next operational season!