Babcock Heads Up Global Battle Against Forest Fires

This year Babcock the aerospace, defence and security company has flown more than 5,500 missions and more than 11,000 flight hours across its global leading aerial firefighting and fire prevention operation, dropping approximately 200 million litres of water to fight wild-fires in Spain, Portugal, Italy and Canada.

With more than 35 years of experience in aerial firefighting, Babcock can rely on the skills of around 500 rigorously trained professionals to operate its 50 strong fleet of light, medium and heavy helicopters and fixed wing aircraft along with managing the Italian Government’s 19 amphibious Canadair.

During a drier than normal summer, with temperatures that set historical highs, operational teams in Spain helped to extinguish more than 20 big wild fires, with burn areas of approximately 500 hectares each.  A summer season declared by experts as one of the most complex from recent years, in which Babcock has incorporated new technology to fight fires, like the five Super Puma heavy helicopters modified and upgraded to extinguish fires in Spain.

While in Italy, fires have increased by 256% this year and over 150 thousand hectares of forest were burnt. The firefighting season was very demanding for our crews in Italy, where Babcock is operating and maintaining the Canadair fleet of behalf of the Government.  Our crews deliver more than 2,100 missions and over 6,000 flight hours, with a record number of flight hours flown in a single day.

In 2018, Babcock was awarded a 10-year contract for delivering aerial wildfire suppression services by the Government of Manitoba. As part of that contract Babcock manage, maintain, and operate Manitoba’s fleet of seven Canadair amphibious water-bomber aircraft, supported by three Babcock-owned bird-dog aircraft. 

In 2021 alone, Babcock successfully dropped over 53 million litres of water on the wildfires in Manitoba and also completed over 874 firefighting missions.  Not only is the work that the aerial firefighting crews are doing helping to safeguard lives and communities, they are also working to protect the natural environment and wildlife in Canada.

Giulio Fini, Southern Europe Managing Director at Aviation said: “Across our global firefighting operation we are proud of our ability to make the world a bit safer.  Summer 2021 was a challenging time operationally, with wild fires across Spain, Portugal, Italy and the Mediterranean countries. Despite the challenges our highly trained and experienced teams are ready to intervene, deploy innovative technology and focus on prevention or extinguishing the threat to the forests and local communities.”