Brazilian Ag Aviation Association Sindag announced this week that they will be holding a virtual seminar on Aerial Firefighting operations using agricultural aviation aircraft.  The seminar will be hosted by the National Union of Agricultural Aviation Companies (Sindag) and the Brazilian Agricultural Aviation Institute (Ibravag) and can be seen on the Sindag YouTube Channel . The live presentations and debates will be presented on April 7th & 8th at 2pm local Brazilian time. To register, you can visit here.

The first day’s presentations will focus on the history of government policies and actions in the use of aircraft in operations fighting forest fires in Brazil. The keynote speaker will be Senator Carlos Fávaro (PSD-MT), author of the Bill of Law (PL) 4.629 / 20. The proposal includes the use of agricultural aviation in the government’s policy going forward to assist in fighting forest fires in Brazil, the bill was unanimously approved in the Senate and is now being processed in the Chamber of Deputies, in Brasília.

On the second day of the event, the emphasis will be technical, with the presence of representatives from aircraft manufacturers Air Tractor and Thrush, in addition to Zanoni, a local manufacturer of fire-fighting gates for aircraft.

The event is part of the Agricultural Aviation 2022 project, which is sponsored by Syngenta, and has the support of Thrush, Air Tractor, Zanoni, RTC Risk Management and Training and Mossmann Assessoria e Consultoria Aeroagrícola.

The webinar on firefighting integrates the work of ag aviation entities that want to integrate into the aerial firefighting industry. The effort also seeks to consolidate the training of pilots for this type of mission, in addition to updating technologies for operating in emergency scenarios. Sindag and Ibravag have, since the beginning of the year, been in partnership with consultant Rodrigo Araújo holding preliminary conversations with aircraft and equipment manufacturers, also conducting a survey on bottlenecks, technologies, and ongoing research on the topic.

According to the executive director of Sindag, Gabriel Colle, the proceedings in the National Congress of PL 4.629 / 20. After the green light in the Senate in October, the proposal was then stalled in the Chamber of Deputies, until March 19, when it began to be processed in the Environment and Sustainable Development Commission.

In addition, in Mato Grosso, state deputy Faissal Calil (PV) presented in August 2020 a bill (PL) providing for the creation of the State Fire Control Program . The text addresses joint actions by public authorities, civil society and private entities. Among the initiatives, the use of agricultural airplanes to combat hot spots. This remembering that the State leads the national ranking of fleets, with more than 500 agricultural aircraft in its territory, according to Anac.

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Since 1991, Brazilian agricultural aviation has participated in fire-fighting operations supporting official bodies. “However, the demand has intensified a lot in recent years”, highlights Gabriel Colle. Last year alone, the sector launched more than 10.8 million liters of water in aerial firefighting operations in more than 6,800 operations to fight fire outbreaks in the Pantanal, Northeastern Cerrado, and other areas, in addition to crops in the Midwest.

The president of Sindag, Thiago Magalhães Silva, highlights that the bills on the subject are an important advance in this debate. “We have fires every year and we know how to fight them, combining the aerial tool with the work done by firefighters and ground brigades.” What is missing, according to Magalhães, are coordinated actions with all the necessary actors and in the intensity that the problem requires. “And in the correct timing: the plane has to be with the ground personnel or making the first attack in areas that are difficult to access even in the beginning of the flames. When it is easier to avoid tragedies ”, he sums up.