After a morning with the light rain in the area of upcoming fires in Porto Velho, Rondônia State, this Tuesday afternoon (27) had firefighting flights for a group of agricultural pilots who are part of the teams that aim to protect the Amazon jungle. The operation this time took place 80 kilometers from the city.
The group operates four AT-502B model Air Tractor agricultural aircrafts and was called around 3:30 pm local time (4:30 pm in Brasilia). Pilot Douglas (Carioca) Menezes says there were eight throws on the flames to eliminate the fire focus. He explains that, as the forest still conserves moisture in the region, it helps to hold the fire, which made it easier to work on this operation.
The other pilots of the group are Gustavo Borges, Joni Silva and Fábio Domingues. They operate from the Zirondi Aerodrome, where there is a fire brigade east of the capital – the two C-130 Hercules of the Brazilian Air Force, for example, are based at Jorge Teixeira de Oliveira International Airport in the northern part of the city.
Two of the four aircraft were displaced to Rondônia shortly after fighting the flames in the Chapada dos Guimarães National Park, in Mato Grosso state, last August 15 to 19. The company has four more warning aircraft, if it is necessary to travel to the region.
The Americasul Aeroagrícola company, which owns the aircraft, has a contract with the Brazilian government for fire operations and has four more aircraft ready to go into operation if they are called by the firefighters or the Brazilian Army, which is coordinating operations in the region.
Last Monday, the National Union of Agricultural Aviation Companies (SINDAG) expressed his support and stated that it is available to the Brazilian government to mobilize more aircraft, if necessary. At the same time, a survey began among its 165 member companies to find out how many planes and pilots would be ready to take action immediately and where they are.