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19 Jul 2021

Dauntless Air Enters 2021 Wildfire Season with Expanded Fleet of 15 Fire Bosses

Ryan Mason

As the 2021 wildfire season gets underway, aerial firefighting leader Dauntless Air today announced that it has added two new Fire Bosses to the nation’s largest and most technologically advanced Fire Boss fleet. In pursuit of its mission to protect people, land and property from the devastation of wildfires, Dauntless will put its fleet to work on exclusive use and call-when-needed contracts with the Bureau of Land Management (which shares resources with the US Forest Service), Bureau of Indian Affairs and state fire agencies in Minnesota, Idaho, Washington, Alaska, Colorado and Oregon.

“A growing number of fire agencies are turning to Fire Boss-driven Rapid Initial Attack to contain wildfires faster and avoid the devastation, fossil fuel emissions, health impacts and costs associated with large, complex fires,” said Brett L’Esperance, CEO, Dauntless Air. “We are responding to this increasing demand by expanding our Fire Boss fleet to give fire agencies more access to critical water-scooping aircraft that can work alongside helicopters in the fight against wildfires.”

Central to the Rapid Initial Attack model are amphibious resources—Fire Bosses and firefighting helicopters—that can work in close, coordinated fashion with ground resources, operate out of large or small air bases and scoop water directly from natural sources nearby a fire. In Rapid Initial Attack, these pre-positioned aircraft can arrive on the scene within an hour of dispatch and bombard a fire with water by traveling back and forth between it and a nearby water source. Fire Bosses can scoop up to 800 gallons in approximately 20 seconds. Loads of water carried by Dauntless Fire Bosses can be enhanced using an in-flight gel mixing system, which helps to improve the water’s fire-suppressive characteristics.

To learn more about the custom technology onboard Dauntless Fire Bosses, tune in to the upcoming AirMed&Rescue roundtable, “New Technology and Aircraft Adaptations in Aerial Firefighting.” The session will take place on Tuesday, July 20, 2021 and feature leaders from Dauntless Air, Erickson and Intterra.

The National Interagency Fire Center’s (NIFC) 2021 wildfire outlook predicts above normal fire potential for many regions in the US, in particular the West which is in the midst of the region’s most expansive and intense drought of the century, according to the US Drought Monitor. Drought and extreme heat, driven by climate change, are increasing wildland fire danger for countless communities. This combined with decades of expanding human development and underfunded forest management efforts have resulted in wildfires that are burning faster and hotter than they were decades ago.

Already the 2021 season is outpacing national averages: more than 34,00 wildfires have ignited since January, which is nearly 4,000 fires more than the 10-year national average to date. The increased activity comes on the heels of a destructive 2020 season, when nearly 60,000 wildfires burned more than 10.1 million acres—well above the five- and 10-year national averages. 33 percent of the burned acres were in California, which accounted for the largest number of structures lost in one state—11,473; nearly 7,000 of which were homes and businesses.

“Wildfires are a national security risk that endanger millions of lives and livelihoods every year; they rip through our communities and their smoke has long-term negative health impacts on people living hundreds of miles away from the flames,” added L’Esperance. “We are incredibly proud to help the country combat these threats, especially as climate change exacerbates the length and intensity of each wildfire season. The more we expand our ability to keep unwanted fires small and contained, the more we can reduce overall suppression costs and divert the money saved to critical forest health management initiatives that reduce the wildfire risk in the first place.”

The article was provided by AerialFire Magazine. Read the original here.

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