Controlled forest fires

Helicopters are frequently used to fight fires, but they are also capable of lighting fires in a controlled manner. We at HeliAir Sweden have recently added fire lighting to our range of services.

Do we really start forest fires on purpose?

Fire has always been a natural, and healthy, part of the life in a forest, but raging wildfires possess a big threat to lives and property these days. In order to minimize the risks, wildland managements are staging prescribed burnings in order to stimulate the forest. A prescribed burning is a professionally controlled fire that serves to renew the forest and its natural ecosystem in a desired area. It is primarily used as a type of scarification in order to facilitate reforestation and increase biodiversity after harvesting, but it is also a requirement for receiving environmental certifications.

How it’s done

In the spring of 2014 HeliAir Sweden was issued a formal approval for airborne fire lighting by the Swedish Transport Agency following a period of intense tests and evaluations. The method itself has been around for quite some time and is used worldwide, however, it is not common in Sweden these days. Traditional ground initiated burnings are extremely hazardous, very labor intensive, and usually usually carried out during the most hot and hazardous periods in the summer. By lighting prescribed fires from the air, the project is provided with superior ignition capability and the lighting can be conducted during periods with low fire hazard.

HeliAir uses a team of helicopters in order to light the fire and to control intensity and direction of the fire once it is up and running. The fire is lit and maintained in a precise manner by the use of specially adapted fire lighting equipment fitted to the helicopter. It is then supervised, controlled and put out by other helicopters that are equipped with water buckets.

Wildlife inventory

We perform inventory of wild stocks from helicopter all over Sweden, both with conventional methods and with Distance Sampling.

1 + 1 = #1…

HeliAir Sweden offers all forms of wildlife inventory from helicopter in cooperation with Älgflyg AB, which is the absolute leader in this field. We preferably use a method for inventory called Distance Sampling, which, among other things, means that observations are registered together with a huber of data from the environment where the animal is located at the actual moment of observation. This increases the statistical certainty in the inventory, and the method is used worldwide for wildlife inventories. Distance sampling is a method that is very suitable for the inventory of large areas since it’s not only statistically superior, but also cheaper than other existing inventory methods.

  • The inventory is made along predetermined routes which are parallel and evenly distributed throughout the survey area. All observed animals are positioned using GPS and included in the statistical calculation base
  • Navigation and positioning of the animal is made with a proprietary system based on GPS paired with a laptop. This system is unique and the best of its kind for this type of inventory. Älgflyg AB is the only company in Sweden that offer this type of system

Results and Report

After completion of the inventory assignment, the customer receives a report containing:

  • A description of the work
  • Data tables showing the population composition and numbers
  • Maps showing the animals’ positions at the inventory in relation to the inventory lines

In addition to the above, an on-site presentation of the results of the inventory is offered at the appropriate place where hunters can have the opportunity to ask questions.

Contact us and we’ll tell you more…

Forest inventory

Together with us, our customers quickly and safely perform their forest inventory from the air. It can be anything from growth rates in new plantations to signs of pest infestations.

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Preferably, most of our inventory missions are carried out together with our partner Älgflyg AB , who with their unique expertise, technology and method is the absolute leader in forest- and wildlife inventory today.

Forest Clearing Inventory

When planning for a clearing inventory, the client normally provides us with a digital map data of the area, which the computerized system produces a flight route that minimizes the flight distance with respect to the helicopter’s fuel consumption and the deployed fuel support or the nearest airport. When the pilot then follows the established route between all map objects, we achieve the best possible profitability and performance for the customer.

At all clearing- and planting inventory projects, we use a digital “form” where the operator enters the information and actions requested by the client, such as:

  • Number of stems / area
  • Wildlife damages
  • Desired time for the next action
  • Level of difficulty for clearing teams

In this type of mission, effectiveness usually is around 40-60 stocks per hour depending on the distances between them. These inventories are usually done in spring and before flushing when the ground is still covered with a thin snow cover.

Pinecone picking

More efficient pine cone picking with our helicopter operated top saw.

When the time has come to harvest the pine cones at a plantation, it’s not only more efficient with a helicopter, but normally also less expensive. Please contact us to find out more…