Russian Helicopters Extinguish Fires in Eleven Countries
Helicopters of the Mi and Ka brands, produced by the enterprises under the Russian Helicopters holding company, have since the beginning of 2021 taken part in firefighting operations in more than 10 countries of Asia, Europe and Latin America. In particular, Russian-made helicopters were used in India, South Korea, Thailand, Croatia, Argentina, Spain, China, Georgia, Indonesia, Mexico and Chile.
South Korea is the largest operator of Russian Ka-32 which is the main helicopter for fighting forest fires in the country. More than 50 helicopters of this type are operated by Korea Forest Service, Air Force, Coast Guard and private companies. According to the Korea Forest Service, 13 of its 29 Ka-32 helicopters, were used in firefighting in North Gyeongsang Province this January. Helicopters were deployed after a series of forest fires occurred in the area of Ochon-ri, Changsu-myeon.
Since early February, Ka-32 helicopter has spearheaded aerial firefighting operations in Kor, Li, Hod and Lamphun in Thailand. Heavy fog, cold mornings and hot afternoons accumulate a large amount of dust and smog, which covered number of cities in the province of Chiang Mai. While operating in the area, Ka-32 helicopters have extinguished over 19 fires, using a total of 57,000 liters of water. In addition to water bombing from an external sling to extinguish fires, Ka and Mi helicopters are operated in Indonesia to carry out air patrols and water transport. In turn, Mi-17V-5 helicopter was deployed to extinguish a fires at the Shirui heights in Northeast India.
China is already actively fighting seasonal fires with a fleet consisting of Ka-32s, and also the heavy lifting Mi-26. Mi-26 allowed to quickly extinguish a forest fire on the outskirts of the city of Xichang in the Sichuan province, which could have engulfed nearby villages.
The Mexican Secretariat of the Navy has announced the completion of an exercise aimed at protecting the environment and natural resources. During the exercise, the naval forces practiced extinguishing fires using Mi-17 helicopters, which earlier this year already took part in similar operations in Sierra de Arteaga and continue to operate in the municipality of Santiago, Nuevo Leon. At the same time, Ka-32 helicopters did three days of firefighting operations in the Lago Penuelas in Chile and put out a fire in Ranedo de Curueño, Castile and Leon in Spain.