Rural fires cause great damage to the burned surface that involves vegetation, fauna, soil, water and carbon cycles, climate regulation, economics of the affected areas and to the beauty and recreational values of these spaces. As well as to the people who inhabit those areas. Fire affects considerably the biodiversity, the economy and society in general.
Due to the facts mentioned before, CMPC has been working for months to prevent wildfires in Chile during the summer season 2018-2019 that has already started, and there are three lines of work that have been deployed: Neighborhood Prevention, Preventive Silviculture and the use of last generation technology. However, Neighborhood Prevention has become in recent years into one of our priorities, and that’s why we have carried out multiple activities related to the work with the community.
We have given talks and educational workshops to school students belonging to the communities that are neighbors to our properties, related to the benefits of the forest, flora and fauna, how to take care of the environment, and the impact of human actions on them. Also, we have trained firefighters, members of the army and pilots with the collaboration of the National Corporation of Wood (Corma) and we have created more than 300 committees formed along the country to organize and be trained in prevention tasks.
On the other hand, Surveillance Committees have been created with the volunteer work of neighbors next to our properties and we have established monitoring zones and active surveillance especially in neighborhood’s interfaces areas, providing 80 fixed beams per day in high season and special quadrant plans that get activated in an alert situation.
Preventive silviculture and last generation technology
Just as the work with the community is very important, so it is preventive silviculture, that means, the modification, ordering or elimination of living or dead vegetation and of plant residues and waste to prevent a wildfire from occurring or, if it starts, to delay its spread and mitigate the damage.
That is why, defense ring systems have been standardized, mainly in populated areas and urban-rural interfaces (strips that separate cities from agricultural land or forestry), with the objective of progressively reducing the fuel load to decelerate the behavior of an eventual fire, create a space of defense for their combat and avoid the spread of fires to and from the interface. Depending on the context, there are three defensive levels that can by applied: firewalls to mineral soil, areas with fuel reduction and a ring of preventive silvicultural management (thinning and / or pruning).
With these actions and added the ones held on 2017, at the end of the year, we will complete about 2 thousand additional hectares of protected areas for urban-rural interfaces between the Maule and La Araucanía regions; mainly neighborhood, agricultural and industrial interfaces. The above means, the intervention in about 300 properties of our own and the direct protection of approximately 8,500 houses.
Also, last generation technology fulfills a special task: to collaborate with the early detection of possible fires and coordinate the necessary actions for its prevention or combat.
This season, CMPC will have softwares such as the “Wildfire Analyst” to analyze, in real time, the fire behavior and simulate its spread in about 1 to 6 hours or more, which allows to plan combat strategies.
Infrared and thermal high definition areas cameras will also work to visualize in real time the advance of the fire.
We don’t lower our guard
In addition to all efforts made to prevent wildfires, for the 2018-2019 season CMPC also provided resources to combat them in case they occur. So, about 30 million dollars will be set a side for both plans.
For firefighting activity, the Company will have approximately an amount of 1,100 co-workers, of whom, about 800 correspond to wildland firefighters who will fight land catastrophes and 20 aircrafts, including the Chinook mega helicopter.
For the second consecutive year, CMPC will operate it specially to fight the fire that arises in the interfaces. Never the less, the helicopter will be available to help in any area that is required, whether our properties need it, properties that belong to people from communities, inhabited areas and native forests.
To close, and in addition to everything exposed before, the Chinook is prepared to carry 12 tons of cargo (as combat tools) and it can also throw 10 thousand liters of water through its “Bambi Bucket” or basket, whose line height is 60 meters long, which allows him to reach a depth of at least 50 centimeters in any source of water; Lakes, Rivers, Pools, Channels and Ponds, for example. It´s important to mention that the “Bambi Bucket” can be loaded in 60 to 90 seconds.