Portimão aerodrome becomes base for rural firefighting planes

For first time two fireboss planes stationed in Algarve through summer

Portimão aerodrome has become a new base for firefighting planes run by the country’s Civil Protection service.

This means two ‘fireboss’ water-bombers will be ‘on hand’ in the Algarve through the worst of the rural wildfire season (June through to end September).

Portimão council has welcomed the decision as it beefs the ‘response capacity’ of the Special Unit for Rural Firefighting (DECIR) in the region, increasing the likelihood of fires being contained in the early stages after breaking out.

A statement from the municipality says the two aircraft will operate “in full harmony with the other activities that take place in this aeronautical infrastructure”, such as the “regular air route that crosses the country daily” linking the south to the north of Portugal and the “parachuting, which has already assumed a touristic importance for the western Algarve, with very positive effects for the local economy”.

According to the same source, work is underway to improve and adapt safety conditions, which in future will allow for a greater number of emergency and Civil Protection aircraft at the aerodrome, which has recently been licensed by the National Civil Aviation Authority for a period of five years.

As to the two planes specifications, fireboss “are single-engine turbine amphibious aircraft with two floats, with the capacity to carry 3,000 litres of water and foam”. They work in pairs, refilling (by scooping) in stretches of water with 731 metres” the council has explained.

Fireboss aircraft travel on runways with a minimum of 300 metres unloaded, and 810 metres loaded. They can carry out partial discharges of water, foam or retardant in the line of fire, and reach operating speeds of 270 km/h, with a take-off time of up to 10 minutes.

“At the aerodrome, fuel refuelling capacity is also guaranteed, which in the case of (this) pair (of aircraft) is 2,500 litres per mission of around three hours,” said the municipality, stressing that the Civil Protection base at the aerodrome also has “the conditions to house the aircraft’s crews and all the essential spaces for sustaining this operation.”

Source material: LUSA

Portugal Resident