Minister announces rollout of special helicopter to fight fire

Preddvor – Visiting the site of a recent massive wildfire in northern Slovenia on Tuesday, Defence Minister Matej Tonin said that in the future the ministry would dedicate a special helicopter to be on standby in case of fire.

“What we have seen today is sad, the future is going to be challenging in terms of restoring all this and putting it back to its original state,” the minister said, noting the key role of funding for forest restoration and controlling the population of the bark beetle as burnt spruce trees are a potential bait for the pest.

Tonin said that EUR 22 million had already been transferred to purchase a new C-27J Spartan transport aircraft which will have a special fire-fighting module and will be able to carry up to seven tonnes of water in a single go. Tonin has met the head of Leonardo, the company that produces the aircraft, and according to the minister, the CEO has vowed that the aircraft would be delivered already this year.

He thanked all the firefighters that participated in the effort to put out the recent fire that broke out on Potoška Gora and Baba hills near the town of Preddvor, some 30 km north of Ljubljana, at the start of last week. It took three days, some 1,100 firefighters and the long-awaited rainfall to extinguish it.