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Please note that the programme may be subject to change

DAY 1 17 October 2023


Registration & Exhibition 


Chairs' Opening RemarksLieutenant Colonel Zisoula Ntasiou, Duty Officer Unit 2, National Coordination Center for Operations & Crisis Management, Hellenic Fire Service, Greece & Professor Dr. Johann Goldammer, Director, Global Fire Monitoring Center, Germany


Welcome Address - Vassilis Kikilias, Minister for Climate Crisis and Civil Protection, Greece


The European Civil Protection Mechanism: Challenges & Achievements of a Forest Firefighting Coordinated Approach - Claire Kowalewski, AFF Preparedness & Response Officer - rescEU Programme, European Commission - Directorate for Civil Protection & European Humanitarian Aid Operations


Wildfire Strategy & Lessons Applied to 2023 - Lieutenant-Colonel Fabrice Chassagne, French Civil Security Military Formation, National Technical Council for Wildfire, Ministry of Interior, France 

In France, the forest fire toll for 2022 is particularly high.  The adverse consequences of climate change means that the entire country is now exposed to an increased risk of wildfire during a period that is no longer limited to July & August.  After a brief introduction to French doctrine and a presentation of the criteria used to decide on deployment of airborne resources, the presentation will focus on the changes to the 2023 operational plan in the light of feedback from 2022.


Portugese AFF Mission in the Integrated Rural Fire Management System - Tiago M. Oliveira, Chairman of the Board of Director, Agency for Integrated Rural Fire Management, Portugal

This presentation is anchored in the scope of the transformation undertaken by Portugal since the dramatic 2017 wildfire season, when hard learnt lessons demanded a coordinating body, capable of bringing together interspersed organizations through new approaches towards a common goal.


The Importance of Disaster Resilience - the United States as your Committed Partner - George J. Tsunis, U.S. Ambassador to the Hellenic Republic, U.S. Embassy & Consulate in Greece, USA


Refreshment Break & Networking 

Session 1:
What Happened in Greece This Fire Season 2023 (1)

Aerial Firefighting in Greece - Lieutenant Colonel Zisoula Ntasiou, Duty Officer Unit 2, National Coordination Center for Operations & Crisis Management, Hellenic Fire Service, Greece

Fire season 2023 was a long & never ending season for Greece.  The behaviour of the fires was extreme, we encountered mainly crown fires of Pinus halepensis, brutia, nigra and Quercus forests, mostly wind and plume-driven, with high degree of fire line intensity, rate of spread, flame length, spotting activity, appearance of pyroCu, pyroCb, downdrafts and fire tornados.

EU has mobilized one of the largest ever European deployments of firefighters and aircraft in history.  The National Coordination Center for Operations and Crisis Management of the Hellenic Fire Service had to coordinate 94 Greek and 44 foreign aerial resources, from 15 countries around the world, that participated together in the battle for tackling the wildfires in Greece.

What happened in Greece this summer?  What were our lessons learned?  How those lessons learned can be useful in the future?  Are some of the key questinos that will be answered during this presentation.


The Contribution of Aerial Firefighting Operations in Wildfire Management in Greece  - Colonel Elias Veloudos, 355 Tactical Transport Squadron Commander (Aerial Fire Fighting), Hellenic Air Force, Greece

Historical review of the Aerial Firefighting in Greece and the contribution of the Aerial Firefighting aircraft, in wildfire management, inside and outside Greece - Presentation of the structure, resources and organization of the Aerial Firefighting Squadrons of the Hellenic Air Force - Practices & methods as well as new technologies, that the Hellenic Air Force use to try to improve flight safety & the effectiveness of Aerial Firefighting aircraft - Case study


A Paradigm Shift: Tools & Strategy Against New Fires - Hugo Arceo, Sales Manager, Air Tractor Europe, Spain

Addressing the continued changes in the fire landscape around Europe & the tools & strategies to fight against these new kind of fires


Lunch & Networking 

Session 2:
High Severity Fires (1)

PANEL: New Approaches to Confront Unprecedented Conditions

Panellists:    Lieutenant General Christos Lampris, Chief of Staff, Hellenic Fire Service HQ, Greece / Tiago M. Oliveira, Chairman of the Board of Director, Agency for Integrated Rural Fire Management, Portugal / Michelle Jenkins, Coordinator Operations (Aviation), NSW Rural Fire Service, Australia


From Ashes to Action: Learnings from the 2023 Wildfires in Quebec & Canda - Luc Dugas, Director, SOPFEU Quebec Provincial Fire Center, Canada

SOPFEU in brief - A look back at the 2023 season - Looking foward


The Pumas Never Sleep: Rotary Wings in Firefighting Action - Frederic Huin, Senior Business Growth Manager, Airbus Helicopters, France 


Refreshment Break & Networking 

Session 3:
High Severity Fires (2)

Is it Time? Wildfires have Changed, has the Response? - Michael Benson, Director, Business Development, Conair Group, Inc., Canada

The environment & wildfire behaviour have changed - and so must our response.  Highter temperatures, lower humidity, & increased winds experiences on today's fires evaporate much of the moisture content from a water drop before it hits the ground.  Gel or foam additives imrpove water's impact to a degree but are no match for fire burning in extreme conditions.  Water needs a partner to help slow fire growth & prevent losses.  Retardant is that partner.  Learn how to use retardant efficiently & effectively on a fire from a large airtanker, integrating with current fleets of water skimming airtankers.  It is time to use all available resources to protect our world from catastrophic wildfires.


Elements of a Successful Retardant Program - Edward Goldberg, Vice Chairman, Perimeter Solutions, USA

What does it take to create a successful retardant program?  Eddie will share unique insight on how to develop a successful retardant program based on his 20 years of experience in the fire safety industry.  A deep dive into what really matters when it comes to developing effective aerial firefighting programs.


Use of Chemical Additives by Aerial Means During Forest Firefighting: Applied Research Serving the French Civil Protection - Dr. Frederique Giroud, Director CEREN & Jean-Frédéric Biscay, Deputy Director CEREN, Entente - Valabre, France

A quick overview of the applied research made by CEREN will be presented.  A specific focus will be made concerning use of chemical additives with aerial means of the French Civil Protection and Aerial rescue coordination training simulator.


Chairs' Closing Remarks


Erickson S64 Air Crane Helicopter Demonstration


Drinks Reception (sponsored by Sabena technics) 

DAY 2 18 October 2023


Registration & Exhibition 


Chairs' Opening Remarks 

Session 4:
Training & Support - at the Centre of the AFF Mission

PANEL: Moving the Air Mission Forward 

Panellists:  Pierre Chicha, CL 415 Instructor & Examiner, French Sécurité Civile, France / Captain Vittorio Barlocci, Cpt. Italian National Fire Corps, Italy / Francesco Chiappino, Pilot, Heli Protection Europe, Italy

The AFF mission has globalised faster than most forecasters were projecting only 2-3 years ago.  This has dramatically raised remand for aircraft and pilots, but available capabilities are playing catch-up.  What are the key challenges faced today by pilots, and what practices and technologies are available and entering the market, that can increase flight safety and improve training outcomes?  Where are the deficiencies that need to be addressed as a priority?


Sabena technics 30 Years of Fire Fighting Support & More - Jean-Christophe Maridat, VP Sales & Projects Military Solutions, Sabena technics, France

Introduction to Sabena technics - Focus on Sabena's fire fighting support 28 years experience - Focus on Sabena's modifications experience - What is next for the support of fire fighting ageing fleet?


CALFIRE - AMENTUM Team: A World-Renowned Aviation Aerial Firefighting Program - Sean Navin, Program Director, Amentum Aviation, USA

Introduction to Amentum - Explore the CAL FIRE mission & what Amentum's capabilities are within that mission set - Discuss aircraft, maintainers, pilots, fire response within Amentum's area of operation, & their expectations & goals of keeping 95% of fire at 10 acres or less - Review the impact & results of their aerial firefighting goals - Importance of retaining pilots & maintainers.


Refreshment Break & Networking 

Session 5:
What Happened in Greece This Fire Season 2023 (2)

PANEL:  Air Operational Achievement & Challenges

Panellists: Colonel Anastasios Michalopoulos, National Coordination Center for Operations & Crisis Management, Head of Unit 2, Hellenic Fire Service, Greece / Gary Harman, Erickson Inc, USA / Claire Kowalewski, AFF Preparedness & Response Officer, rescEU Programme, European Commission, Directorate for Civil Protection & European Humanitarian Air Operations



Sustaining AFF People & Assets in a High Op-Tempo Environment - Gary Harman, Country Manager, Greece, Erickson, Inc., USA

How do Erickson ensure that crews, staff & assets remain safely sustainable?



Lunch & Networking 

Session 6:
New Capabilities & Practices

Leonardo Fixed Wing Response to AIB Emergency - Carmine Russo, Head of Sales Engineering & IFTS Marketing, Leonardo, Italy

The trend of the last 20 years indicates a continuous increase in fires, with an average of around 300 fires per day in Europe.  In this context, the management of environmental emergencies is a continuous challenge, with gradually increasing levels of complexity, which require integrated management of the problems & multiple latest generation technologies.  In this context, Leonardo, a leading international company in aeronautcial & technological field, offers a solution based on the C-27J Multi-Mission aircraft aimed at overcoming these critical issues.  The C-27J FireFighting (FF) proposal guarantees high performance & reduced operating costs, while capable of maximizing the effectiveness of intervention in Europe and the entire Mediterranean area, in line with the needs of the European Civil Protection.  Thanks to its multi-mission capabilities, the C-27J platform is also able to guarantee operational capabilities for evacuation operations, support for natural and/or anthropogenic disasters even carrying out a command-and-control role.


UAS/Space Capability Gamechangers - Professor Vaios Lappas, Department Head, Aerospace Science & Technology, University of Athens, Greece

Advances in microelectronics, sensors, miniaturisation have enabled the design and operation of intelligent and low cost Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) and small satellites which can be used for the monitoring, tracking & analysis of wildfires.  The presentation will focus on the use of UAV swarms currently in development for defence applications in an integrated architecture with small sattelite constellations for the persistent detection & monitoring of wildfires.  The pathfinder programs 'ACHILLES' which involves the design and testing of a swarm of low cost UAVs and the 'ERMIS' nanosatellite constellation currently in development, funded by the Greek Government and European Space Agency will be presented as tools for a near term integrated architecture for persistant wildfire detection & monitoring.



Forest Firefighting - Challenges for Future International Cooperation - Milan Dubravac, President, International Association of Fire & Rescue Services (CTIF), Slovenia 

CTIF is International Fire Services Association whose main objective is to exchange knowledge.  Main work & results of this Association is done in Commissions and working groups where experts from around the world deal with firefighting challenges.  In the last period, CTIF is mainly focused on the following topics which worldwide needs exchange of knowledge & experience:

•  New Technologies in Fire Service / •  Forest Fires / •  Firefighters Health / •  Future role of Fire Services worldwide due to climate changes, green transition & technological development



Refreshment Break & Networking 

Session 7:
What Happened in Greece This Fire Season 2023 (3)

UAS AFF Operations Greece 2023 - Captain Magetos Christos, Head of UAS Operations, Hellenic Fire Service HQ, Greece

The presentation provides a brief overview of the capabilities, organization, and equipment of the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Teams within the Greek Fire Service, showcasing their vital role in the firefighting efforts during the 2023 fire season.  This information highlights the essential contribution of UAVs to modern firefighting oeprations and crisis management in Greece.  During this period Greece experienced an extended and intense fire season characterized by extreme fire behaviour, particularly during significant wildfires in regions such as Attica, Rhodes, Evros (Alexandroupoli, Dadia), and Aghialos.  It also touches upon the train accident in the Tempi region of Thessaly in February 2023 and the floods that affected the Thessaly region in September.


Complex AFF Operations Coordination - Moving to the Next Level - Major Menelaos Andresakis, Aerial Coordinator, Hellenic Fire Service, Greece

Fire season 2023 was an endless season, during which we had to face not only extreme wildfires but floods as well.  2023 was the year that Aerial Coordinators had to manage 94 Greek and 44 foregin aerial resources, one of the largest ever deployments of aircraft in history, hat participated together in the battle of wildfires in Greece.  Hence ways, methods and tactics of aerial coordination of aerial means as well as ways and tactics of coordination in case of floods, as we had in Greece in the region of Thessaly in September 2023 will be analyzed during this presentation.


Chairs' Closing Remarks 


Event Dinner (sponsored by De Havilland)

Presentation: Innovating Technology to End Destructive Wildfires, Jay C. Stalnacker, Technical Lead, XPRIZE Wildfire, USA - Introduced by John Longhurst, CEO, Tangent Link

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