Abstract:

Open-ended firebreaks and aerial ignition for large burning programs (Development of Open Ended Fire Breaks in the Kruger National Park, South Africa)

Bob Connolly5, Chris de Bruno Austin1, Winston SW Trollope2, Lynne A Trollope2, Bandit Steyn3, Freek Venter4, Nick Zambatis4, Richard Sowry4

1 Working on Fire International, Perth, Australia
2 Associates Working on Fire International, Fort Beaufort, South Africa
3 Working on Fire, Nelspruit, South Africa
4 South African National Parks, Kruger National Park, Skukuza, South Africa
5 Forest Fire Operations /Integrated Fire Management Services , Nelspruit, South Africa

The necessity for developing an effective, economical and safe method of creating fire breaks along boundaries and/or over extensive distances using minimum manpower and fire fighting equipment is sorely needed. Recent developments in Australia using aerial ignition of fires have provided a possible and practical means of creating cost effective and ecologically acceptable Open Ended Fire Breaks spanning vast distances that are effective in controlling damaging wild fires and are aesthetically in keeping with natural landscapes in conservation areas like the Kruger National Park in South Africa. Such fire breaks are based on the concept that controlled burns, if applied to partially cured grass fuels during the late summer, as a continuous ignition line in the late afternoon/early evening, will burn and spread very slowly as low intensity fires and will be subsequently extinguished when dew forms later in the night. Recent trials in South Africa have successfully developed continuous lines of fire using the Aerial Incendiary Device  attached to a Bell 206 helicopter which delivers a capsule that ignites after a delay of 30 to 40 seconds with pin point accuracy using a GPS which allows for safe burning. Best Operating Procedures (BOP’s) detailing parameters such as grass fuel loads, percentage grass curing, air temperature, relative humidity and wind speed required to ensure safe application of this technique have been developed and tested. The prescriptive weather conditions for late afternoon/early evening will ensure the subsequent formation of dew during the night resulting in the fire dying out. These BOP’s will pave the way for safely developing extended Open Ended Fire Breaks in the Kruger National Park.

Presentation Topic

Open-ended firebreaks and aerial ignition for large burning programs (Development of Open Ended Fire Breaks in the Kruger National Park, South Africa)


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Forest Fire Operations /Integrated Fire Management Services, Nelspruit, South Africa

 

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