NEWS

Firefighting helicopters

The fire brigade is considering the purchase of firefighting helicopters, following a recent study which showed that the cost of renting 11-14 of these aircraft every summer amounts to 30 million euros, not including fuel or the cost of flights to fires far away from bases. The Public Order Ministry, under whose jurisdiction the fire brigade operates, has commissioned a technical study on the cost of buying and maintaining about 15 of these aircraft. The cost of a firefighting helicopter is estimated to be about 12 million euros, and if acquired through leasing, could be paid off in 10-15 years, about half of its projected life. Buying the aircraft means they will be available all year round, instead of the three to four months for which they are currently rented. Also under consideration is the establishment of a special service within the fire department to manage firefighting from the air, with its own staff of pilots and technicians.