The 2009 fire fighting season is officially coming to an end (hopefully) after this year saw 480 major forest fires which 165 involved aircraft assistance and a total of 4470 hectares forest was destroyed. This compares to 1400 fires in which 29.000 hectares was destroyed in 2008.
The Turkish Forest Agency-Orman Genel Müdürlügü (OGM) had for 2009 made extensive preparations in order not to repeat the year 2008s devastating fires. Large infrastructure programs were initiated involving building of water reservoirs, roads and fire-breaks. Firefighting trucks and the placing of strategic helipads with fuel and water retardant chemicals completed the planning. A new flexible aircraft deployment organization saw the chartering for a period of at least 5 years a fleet of 40+ aircraft of which 16 were water drop capable helicopters (8 Ka-32 and 8 Mi-8 from CIS countries) in addition to its own 6 small helicopters used mainly for positioning of fire fighting teams. Five CL.215, 12 M-18 Dromedars and 6 Cessna U.206 aircraft for reconnaissance has been leased from Türk Hava Kurumu. The deployment of the aircraft fleet is estimated to have cost 250.000 $ a day and unfortunately a Ka-32 (ER-KGA) was lost with its crew!
Three main aircraft bases were established on the
coastline; at Çanakkale in the north (4 x M-18, 1 x U.206 and 1 Mi-8), at
Selçuk and Bodrum in the middle (4 x M-18, 3 x Cl.215, 1 x U.206
and 3 Ka-32 helicopters) and at
Orman Genel Müdürlügü (OGM)
3 x AS.365N1/N2 3 x AS.355F2
Türk Hava Kurumu
6 x U.206B/G
12 x M-18A/B
5 X Cl.215
FOREIGN LEASED HELICOPTERS
8 x Ka-32
8 x Mi-8MTV-1