The challenging year of 2020 has identified that international cross-border cooperation related to the prevention of and the response to wildfires is more important than ever. With landscape firefighting missions moving through Europe, there’s no surprise that the pan-European rescEU Commission has recently received a significant investment boost to expand its aerial firefighting capability.

Tangent Link Ltd, organizers of the internationally acclaimed series of aerial firefighting events is pleased to announce that the next Aerial Firefighting Europe Conference and Exhibition will take place on 12 – 14 October 2021 in Tartu, Estonia.

Providing exceptional opportunity

Hosted in Northern Europe for the first time, the event will provide an exceptional opportunity to share best practice between new and mature markets. The new venue boasts modern event facilities for a dedicated conference, exhibition, private workshops as well as opportunities for static displays.

The event will provide an exceptional opportunity to share best practice between new and mature markets

Chaired by Professor Johann Georg Goldammer, Director of Germany’s Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC), the two-day conference will take place at a time when the current pandemic – unprecedented in recent history – and the increasingly noticeable impacts of climate change are challenging Europe and the world. Over the last years, Europe’s natural and cultural landscapes – including the society living therein – have become increasingly vulnerable to wildfires.

More severe wildfires

In preparation for the event, Professor Goldammer has agreed to share his insights into the conference agenda topics. In the Euro-Mediterranean region, larger and more severe wildfires often are difficult to control. Similar trends are observed in other regions of the world with similar climate and vegetation features speak for themselves, for instance Australia or California.

Until a few years ago, the climatic conditions in Central, Western Atlantic, Northern and Eastern Europe were advantageous. The fragmented and intensively cultivated landscapes, forests and protected areas experienced limited numbers of usually small-sized wildfires. More than a decade ago, the first warning signals came from the United Kingdom and Ireland, where the humid Atlantic climate began to change – along with an unprecedented amount of wildfires affecting moorlands, heathlands and forests.

Fire management methods

Central and Northern European countries need to adjust to a new reality

Beginning in 2018, recurrent, long-lasting droughts affected the vitality and resilience of forests, agricultural lands and other open landscapes of Central and Northern Europe. Widespread desiccation of vegetation cover, associated with dramatically lowered soil moisture and water tables, created conditions favourable for wildfires.

Central and Northern European countries need to adjust to a new reality. This is calling for sharing expertise with other regions of Europe and the world, where experience in fire management methods had evolved over decades. The conference will provide a forum for exchanging expertise and visions for the future of landscape fire management. Conference contributions from Europe and North America will address the advances in technology development and the integration of aerial resources into concepts of building sustainable concepts of integrated fire management.

Aerial firefighting resources

Lessons identified during cross-boundary cooperation in fire management in Europe during the peak of the pandemic are another theme of the conference. Representatives of the European Commission will present the opportunities for sharing aerial firefighting resources in the frame of the rescEU agenda, which is an activity of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.

The conference will also shed light on special problems of fire management

The aim of rescEU is to strengthen European preparedness for disasters and sharing capacities to respond to forest fires, medical emergencies or chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear incidents. In terms of wildfire related information – early warning and monitoring of wildfires – the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS) provides support to rescEU. The conference will also shed light on special problems of fire management: Europe is bearing extended landscapes that are contaminated by the heritage of armed conflicts – unexploded ordnance (UXO) stemming from the World Wars, the Cold War and other recent conflicts.

Dedicated exhibition area

In addition, fires burning on territories contaminated by industrial waste or accidents, including radioactively contaminated areas of Eastern Europe, pose a special threat to society and fire and rescue personnel. Aerial Firefighting Europe 2021 will include a dedicated exhibition area which will offer the aerial firefighting technology providers the much-needed opportunity to meet face-to-face with new and existing clients and showcase their products to the global audience. Confirmed participants include DynCorp International LLC, Viking Air Limited, Conair Group, Perimeter Solutions, Fireboss LLC, Antavia Ametek, Columbia Helicopters, Inc., Overwatch Imaging, Airtelis, Ansett Aviation and Collins Aerospace among many others.

After a challenging time, Aerial Firefighting Europe 2021 will enable the aerial firefighting community to reconnect, share knowledge and define strategies for the global aerial firefighting market. Tangent Link Ltd has embraced the subject of Aerial Firefighting for over a decade with events taking place in key wildfire afflicted countries such as Greece, Croatia, USA, Spain, Australia, Canada, Italy and France since 2008.

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