Flagler County on Friday successfully completed its first prescribed fire utilizing FireFlight equipped with an aerial ignition machine to set fire to 85 acres within Princess Place Preserve.
“This is a great success for us – the beginning of something safer and more effective for our (Land Management) prescribed fire mitigation program,” said Prescribed Fire Program Supervisor Mike Orlando, who is “burn boss” for the day. “And, the third time is the charm – we scheduled this two other times this year, but things outside of our control prevented it from happening.”
Under certain circumstances, the aerial ignition process is better for achieving prescribed fire objectives than lighting the fire from the ground. Orlando, who has an Aerial Ignition Device certification through the Florida Forest Service, operated the aerial ignition machine from within the helicopter, which was flown by Flight Operations Chief Dana Morris.
“There was a lot of experience in that helicopter,” said Morris, who used aerial ignition when he worked in the Rocky Mountains. “Michael and Ashley Orlando (Florida Park Service’s Backlog Abatement Team Leader) and I worked really well together, and it went off without a hitch. It sets a great foundation for doing more of this work in the future.”
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