Doncaster, 31 May 2020 – A major wildfire broke out on the 17th May 2020 on Hatfield Moors near Doncaster, United Kingdom. To begin with, South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue tried to handle the fire with local units, however as the fire spread and set deeper into the moors a specialist helicopter was required to be drafted in to support with the firefighting efforts.
Heli-Lift Services is a specialist company in pioneering helicopter services and operations and their portfolio of work includes some of the first pylon lifts, early large scale erosion reduction initiatives, and the use of helicopters in bracken control. Heli-Lift Services also offer solutions for load lifting, crop spraying, firefighting and emergency, seed sowing, forestry, spreading and bracken spraying. It is this extensive experience over the last 30 years that made South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue draft Heli-Lift Services in to support with the firefighting efforts.
Since 21 May 2020, Heli-Lift Services have based a single asset at Sandtoft Airfield just off the M180 motorway in South Yorkshire. Bell 205A-1 registered G-UHGB was seen to be based between the 21 May 2020 and 30 May 2020, with Bell 212 registered G-BIGB seen arriving and operating on the 30 May 2020.
It is understood that over 100 hours of flying have taken place to tackle the fires so far, a normal sortie would see the helicopter used depart Sandtoft Airfield for around 50 minutes before returning for a splash and dash as well as a crew change when required.
What do they use to drop water on fire? They use something called a ‘Bambi Bucket’. The Bambi Bucket concept originated in 1980 with Don Arney, a Canadian inventor. Arney’s vision was for a durable, collapsible water bucket that would improve helicopter pilots’ firefighting capabilities. The one used and visible in the images is capable of collecting 1700 Liters of water, that is 1.7 tonnes in weight to lift and carry.
While the fire is under control South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue are continuing to ask members of the public to stay away from Hatfield Moors whilst crews do their work. They also ask that people take extra care when out and about to help prevent further incidents like this from happening in the first place especially considering the current warm weather.
|G-BXUF||8633||Bell 206 JetRanger|
*At time of publishing on 31st May 2020