We are reviewing and refining all our existing aviation procedures and systems used at vegetation fires, and working to establish an aircraft standard to cover all of Fire and Emergency New Zealand’s aviation services. 

This will include all rotary and fixed wing aircrafts as well as remotely piloted air systems (RPAS) or drones and the personnel who operate or manage the use of these aircrafts. 

The project involves revising our 2015 Standard for use of aircraft at wildfires as well as looking at other areas for improvement and consistency with other agencies that we work with on large scale incidents, particularly Police, DoC, Ministry for Primary Industries, Maritime NZ, and Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

This project has been underway since early 2019 and we’ve made some good progress. So far we have:

  • Finalised a Master Services Agreement aligned to the Government’s procurement practices that defines the commercial relationship between the buyer (Fire and Emergency) and the Aviation Operators (suppliers).
  • Worked closely with the Department of Conservation on developing a single Standard and possibly Quality assurance/audit processes that other agencies may also be interested in using.
  • Organised two 4-day Air Support Supervisor Role Accreditation Courses for November to determine level of ability to undertake full air support duties on large wildfires involving multiple aircraft.
  • Held a workshop in September on the latest thinking, technology, and tricks on the application of firefighting additives to assist the control of wildfires.
  • Worked with other agencies on a Fire and Emergency RPAS-Drones enhanced capacity and capability strategy and operational use guidelines.
  • Worked with Canterbury University’s Human Interactive Technology Lab on the development of a multi-sensory virtual reality training simulator for airborne firefighters supervising aerial wildfire suppression.
  • Continued to investigate the possible implementation of an aircraft tracking system.

If you have any questions or want more information about the project, please contact Mac McNamara on Richard.McNamara@fireandemergency.nz

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