The Cape’s Working on Fire programme (WOF) has received a new resource: a UH-60 Black Hawk Helicopter, which will be used by WOF teams to battle blazes during fire season.
Working on Fire released a statement on social media stating the helicopter arrived at the Stellenbosch airbase on the evening of Saturday, February 23.
It said in its statement that the addition of the helicopter is part of “an effort to strengthen the aerial firefighting capabilities supplied by the Western Cape Provincial Disaster Management Centre, in collaboration with the Working on Fire Programme.”
Leading Edge Aviation, the owner and operator of the Black Hawk Helicopter, provided WOF with the helicopter to bolster its aerial firefighting resources.
The helicopter was ferried from Nelspruit, Mpumalanga to Stellenbosch and will be stationed there for the entirety of the fire season.
Capable of carrying a “Bambi bucket” with 3 000 liters of water mixed with fire suppressant foam, the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter will be a strong additional asset to the aerial firefighting teams.
The Black Hawk helicopter has already been put to use to aid the WOF teams in controlling and putting out the fire that was burning in Franschhoek last week. The fire was contained yesterday.
Following the Black Hawk’s arrival, it was dispatched to assist the Cape Winelands District Municipality and @CapeNature1 in an ongoing effort to contain the Franschhoek Fire that has been burning for the past 6 days.#SavingLives #ProtectingTheEnvironment pic.twitter.com/p92nyEy7T6
— Working on Fire (@wo_fire) February 23, 2019
The WOF Dispatch and Coordination team based in Stellenbosch will service and maintain the aircraft.
“The WOF Command and Control Spotter Aircraft based at Stellenbosch Airfield will coordinate and control all commands to the operating Black Hawk.”
WOF Managing Director, Trevor Abrahams comments on the importance of the addition to the aerial firefighting fleet.
“Our end goal is to ensure reliable and efficient firefighting resources to firefighting fraternities. The addition of the Black Hawk is a valuable addition to the “toolbox” of resources available to an already successful firefighting team and will bolster our current aerial firefighting fleet of nine fixed-wing Command and Control Spotter Planes, eight Huey Helicopters and four Air Tractor 802 fixed-wing water bombers.”
Pictures: Facebook, Working on Fire, A&A photography