Morocco has again set a new record. It has just joined the list of 12 countries owning Canadairs, along with Canada. Since their acquisition following a Royal decision, the contribution of the 5 Canadairs mobilized in the aerial fight against fires has been decisive in the protection of lives, property, and forests.
True flying boats, the Canadairs are amphibious aircraft considered by many to be the best in the world compared to other models that have the same function. Their advantage? Their ability to save precious time during operations by scooping water directly into dams or the sea… without ever stopping.
“During the scooping operation, a Canadair needs a body of water with a minimum length of 1200m, a width between 50 and 100m, and a depth of 2m. The maneuver takes 12 seconds. During this time, the plane loads 6 tons of water”, explains Fouad Assali, Head of the National Center for Forest Climate Risk Management (CNGRCF) affiliated to the Department of Water and Forests.
A risky job
Piloting a “yellow pelican” requires a very high level of know-how since risk is a factor that must be managed at all times. Scooping and dropping are maneuvers that require flawless precision, as the aircraft’s balance is altered when it loads or unloads 6 tons of water.
Flying at 30 meters from the ground, taking into consideration the danger of the flames, the wind direction, the smoke nuisance, and the resupply constraints, also requires know-how and unfailing concentration.
For these reasons, the piloting team is replaced after every 6 hours of flight. After a decade of their acquisition, the Canadairs have not only contributed to a drastic decrease in forest fire damage but have also provided a team of pilots and technical staff (affiliated with the Royal Air Force) who demonstrate remarkable professionalism and efficiency.
Morocco, a strategic decision
The history of Canadairs in Morocco dates back to 2010. “The purchase of Canadairs was made after the succession of several forest fires that occurred between 2006 and 2009. It was a strategic decision taken by His Majesty King Mohamed 6, which showed foresight and a clear desire to invest in the preservation of the forest.
The acquisition of Canadairs was therefore made in 2011, “says the forester who describes the joy of officials and various stakeholders in the fight against forest fires following this decision. Today, 10 years after the delivery to Morocco of 5 Canadairs “state of the art and brand new”, the effects of this strategic decision have largely had time to be felt.
Compared to previous forest fire statistics, the last decade has seen a significant decrease in the area damaged by fire. A decrease of more than 25% which is, among other things, related to the interventions of these aircraft.
Morocco… always here to help!
Algeria is under fire a few days ago. According to an official statement, the King has given instructions to the Moroccan Ministers of Interior and Foreign Affairs to propose to Algeria the contribution of two Moroccan Canadair as a contribution to the fight against forest fires. However, Algeria has preferred to turn a deaf ear to Morocco, thus requesting help from other countries such as France and Russia.