Consider deploying fixed-wing aircraft or helicopters

Control Measure Knowledge

Fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters can be deployed to perform a number of tactical support roles at a wildfire incident, including:

  • Direct aerial attack by dropping water or fire retardants onto the burning area
  • Indirect aerial attack by dropping water or fire retardants in front of the burning area to form control lines or to strengthen existing control lines
  • Airlifting water to, and around, the incident ground
  • Airlifting personnel and equipment to, and around, the incident ground
  • Aerial reconnaissance and information gathering

It is crucial that fire and rescue services request aircraft that have the correct capability for the tasks that they need to perform. Large commercial and military helicopters, and those used by the new Search and Rescue Service, can often create too much downdraft for effective direct aerial attack.

However, if available, large helicopters can be used very effectively to move personnel and equipment around the incident ground and to and from more remote locations. Smaller helicopters operated by experienced pilots can be used very effectively for dropping water and retardant.

Refer to the National Operational Guidance: Transport for information on working with and near aircraft, including guidance on how to safely board and disembark helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft.

When requesting aerial resources the incident commander should accurately describe their requirements. The aerial resource provider has a responsibility to provide an appropriate aircraft and pilot.

Strategic Actions

Tactical Actions