A focus on strategy to achieve mosaic burning regimes

FFEC bombardier commencing take-off to conduct large-scale aerial incendiary in North Queensland
FFEC bombardier commencing take-off to conduct large-scale aerial incendiary in North Queensland
Photo: Kevin Blackman, North Queensland, 2011

Aerial incendiary operations are used to conduct landscape scale burning and burning in areas of difficult access. There are a number of successful burning programs carried out throughout Australia every year, by government departments and by landowners, with aerial ignition the principal tool. The incendiary devices universally used in Australia are similar to ping-pong type balls which contain a small amount of Potassium Permanganate (Condi’s crystals) and a carefully predetermined percentage of glycol and water mix. The incendiaries are dropped from an aircraft.

FFEC uses helicopters for aerial incendiary operations, with a flight crew of a pilot, navigator, and bombardier.  A helicopter is used as opposed to a light aircraft as this allows for more accurate placement of Aerial Incendiary Devices (AIDs).

Flying to a pre-arranged flight plan, the navigator will select sites in which to drop the incendiary devices.  On completion of the ignition run, a fly-by of ignition points will be carried out to determine the initial scope and behaviour of the various fires. An on-ground crew provide surveillance/reconnaissance and service for the aircraft crew.

Our bombardiers and navigators are qualified and highly experienced in aerial incendiary and we employ aircraft contractors who are familiar with FFEC prescribed burning techniques and understand how FFEC integrate wildfire prevention or firebreak creation with ecological outcomes. All of our aircraft and aerial incendiary devices meet Civil Aviation Security Authority (CASA) specifications and are certified accordingly.

Visible aerial incendiary device ignition points & patchy burns eventuating from aerial scoping exercise to determine fire behaviour
Visible aerial incendiary device ignition points & patchy burns eventuating from aerial scoping exercise to determine fire behaviour.
Photos: Mick Blackman, Central Western Queensland and Cape York, 2010-2012
Visible aerial incendiary device ignition points & patchy burns eventuating from aerial scoping exercise to determine fire behaviour.
Photos: Mick Blackman, Central Western Queensland and Cape York, 2010-2012
Successful ecological outcomes of prescribed aerial burning program.
Photos: Mick Blackman, Central Western Queensland and Cape York, 2010-2012