Thread: Helitorch Operations
01-12-2000, 08:10 AM #1cbp3Firehouse.com Guest
Greetings, and a happy and safe New Year to you all.
I am curious to hear from those personnel who have had experience in the strategic and tactical uses of a helitorch. We have acquired a pair, and are in the final stages of having them operational. I can see uses for them in prescribed fire and mop-up. Do any of you have input on these tools? Safety and operational hazards beyond the obvious that we may overlook? Situations where they have been used successfully that maybe you had not forseen in advance?
From personal experience I've learned: "To err is human, but to really screw up, get a backfire torch!"
I'm interested in your replies.
Take care this year.
01-12-2000, 06:47 PM #2monteFirehouse.com Guest
I am used to the Simplex, single point suspension, propane assist helitorch. We have used this primarily for prescribed burning, and then for large scale "burnout" on long term fires. In a nut shell, take the time to understand what you can do with this wonderful toy. It dispenses "napam" (spelling) or alumagel at various rates and densities. However when things are right, who ever exerts the authority to drop the gel, can and will create a tremendous amount of fire very quickly. In prescribed fire operations we refer to this as "mass ignition" and obviously use it as one technique to burn. During wildfire operations, the use of helitorch falls under a similar organization, and requires the same amount of controls for use, as does prescribed fire. Too numerous to mention here, you may e-mail me for specifics. My last comment is, do not be lulled by some to think the only training needed is for helicopter operations. The helispot crew has to be in-tune with the pilot and the torch to keep it operating, but the Burnboss, at fire or prescribed fire has to be savy to the management needs of ground crews, aircraft management, prescribed fire, and fire behavior. Organization is the cornerstone to success, and anytime you have something flying overhead, your risk just went up 500 times. Now keep in mind you are dropping alumagel. That's the most negative part of this, if you want some operational background, fire behavior, etc. drop me a line, be glad to help. I've been using the torch for 15+ years, and it has been good to me.
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