An Air Tractor 802F dropping blue gel suppressant over a plantation forest during research trial, Mt Crawford, South Australia, January 2008.

A preliminary trial of gel suppressant delivered by an Air Tractor 802F, Mt Crawford, South Australia, January 2008.

Aerial fire suppression

By investigating the effectiveness of aerial suppression of wildfires, scientists are gaining knowledge that will contribute to national aerial firefighting strategies.

  • 12 September 2008 | Updated 14 October 2011

A project investigating aerial suppression effectiveness is being undertaken by CSIRO Forest Biosciences as part of the Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre.

The increased use of firefighting aircraft and intensive media coverage during recent fire seasons has raised public and political concern over the cost and effectiveness of this method of fire suppression.

This project addresses the question - how much aerial and ground suppression is needed for any given bushfire?

Aims

The project specifically aims to:

The project will provide information needed to shape national aerial firefighting strategies.
  • identify the upper fire intensity limit for effective suppression from different resources
  • determine rates of suppression line construction for different resources
  • determine the holding time of suppression lines, especially those from aerial drops
  • quantify operational costs of different suppression resources/tactics.

Outputs

This project will provide information needed to shape national aerial
firefighting strategies by:

  • identifying the key factors that contribute to the effectiveness of aerial suppression
  • verifying the effectiveness of suppression drops to increase firefighter safety and overall efficiency
  • producing guides for air operations
  • producing data to be used for training at all levels
  • raising the awareness of aircraft “best practice”
  • developing methodology for the evaluation of “new generation” suppression resources such as new aircraft platforms and ground equipment
  • providing data and verification of past research.

Learn more about CSIRO's Bushfires work.