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Program timings and content may be subject to change

6 March 2024
7 March 2024
8 March 2024
11:00 — 12:30
Workshop sponsored by Jetex

(Invitation only)

11:00 — 12:30
Workshop sponsored by Universal Avionics & Global Aviation Technologies

(Invitation only)

14:00 — 16:00

Location:  McClellan Airport

Transportation provided if required (departing from SAFE Credit Union Convention Centre at 13:30 hrs)

18:30 — 20:30
Pre-Event Drinks sponsored by AerialFire Magazine & Billings Flying Service

Location:  Cafeteria 15L, 1116 15th Street, Sacramento, CA 95814

Restaurant is walking distance from SAFE Credit Union Convention Center and Hyatt Regency Hotel

07:45 — 08:45
Registration & Exhibition
08:45 — 12:20
08:50 — 09:00
Moderator's Opening Remarks
Chief Kim Zagaris picture
Chief Kim Zagaris
Welcome Video

    Alex Padilla, U.S. Senator for California

09:05 — 09:25
Welcome Address
Chief Joe Tyler picture
Chief Joe Tyler
09:25 — 09:50
Forest Service Aviation - Supporting the Mission

►  What, if any implications for the US Forest Service AFF mission and priorities arising from the WFMMC October Report.

►  Is the funding outlook for the US Forest Service aligned with the missions it is required to fulfil?

►  USFS is assessing UAS in support of different missions.  What are the missions most likely to see UAS in a supporting or augmenting role, and what the key challenges to be resolved (and possibly timeframe).

Paul Linse picture
Paul Linse
09:50 — 10:10
CAL FIRE – AMENTUM Team: A World-Renowned Aviation Aerial Firefighting Program

Amentum Aviation is honored to be the Platinum Sponsor for Aerial Firefighting North America.  During the presentation, we will introduce Amentum and its distinct capabilities to the Aerial Firefighting Community.  It will also explore CAL FIRE's mission and how Amentum consistently supports.  The presentation will cover various aspects such as aircraft, maintainers, pilots, fire response, and our goal of keeping 95% of fires at 10 acres or less.  Finally, the presentation will review the impact and results of Amentum's aerial firefighting goals and conclude by stressing the importance of retaining skilled pilots and maintainers.

Sean D. Navin picture
Sean D. Navin
10:10 — 11:00
Refreshment Break & Networking
11:00 — 11:50
PANEL: Wildland Fire Commission Report - What Next for AFF?
Bob Roper picture
Bob Roper
Chief Kim Zagaris picture
Chief Kim Zagaris
Kate Dargan picture
Kate Dargan
Paul Petersen picture
Paul Petersen
Dan Reese picture
Dan Reese
11:50 — 12:10
Large Airtankers Abroad – Increased Demand for Worldwide Operations

The presentation will cover Coulson's operations in Australia, Argentina, and Chile and how the demand continues to increase for larger, more capable assets.

Britton Coulson picture
Britton Coulson
12:10 — 12:35
Military Assets – Maximising the Opportunity

•  History of CAL FIRE Military Operations  •  Description of the Reciprocal Cooperative Agreement for State of California Military Assets •  CAL FIRE Guard Standards and Training:  Spring Exercise  • Guard Deployment & Missions: Water Dropping, Air Rescue, HLCO/Night HLCO

Logan Kalfsbeek picture
Logan Kalfsbeek
12:35 — 14:15
Lunch Break & Networking
14:15 — 17:30
14:15 — 14:40
Aerial Firefighting in the Second Golden Age of Flight

The 1920's and 30's are often referred to as the Golden Age of Flight, a period characterized by many signficant advances in aviation technology, the introduction of new use cases, and intense public interest.  It was also a period that saw civilian aviation catch up and surpass military aviation in performance and technology through the rapid commercial adoption of these new technologies and applications.  Today's many aviation technology advances and the widespread "democratization of the third dimension" that drones have enabled has led some to label this as the Second Golden Age of Flight and a renaissance of aviation progress.  This presentation explores the many opportunities this renaissance in aviation offers the aerial firefighting community as well as the challenges to realizing its many business and mission benefits.

Mark Bathrick picture
Mark Bathrick
14:40 — 15:05
UAS Operations & Challenges in Wildland Firefighting
Parimal H. Kopardekar picture
Parimal H. Kopardekar
15:05 — 15:30
CAL FIRE UAS Operations

An overview of CAL FIRE's UAS operational capabilities.  A look at current and future program development to meet the needs of our "All Risk" missions sets.

Peter York picture
Peter York
15:30 — 16:15
Refreshment Break & Networking
16:15 — 16:40
Advancing UAS Utilization Through Standardization
Dirk Giles picture
Dirk Giles
Justin Baxter picture
Justin Baxter
16:40 — 17:05
UAV Technologies for Fire Detection & Suppression

Wildfires are increasing in frequency and intensity as the impact of climate change is rapidly changing and becoming as intense as ever.  Europe, and in particular Greece, have been hit severely by such events and despite the use of significant resources, the frequency and magnitude of wildfire events makes the examination of the use of new tools and methods for wildfire response, important and urgent.  Recent developments in unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and space technology can be a complimentary array of tools which can help towards the efforts to detect and suppress wildfires.

The presentation will focus on presenting new ideas and technologies for (i) monitoring and detection of wildfires with swarms of UAVs and earth observation satellites (ii) use of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) for fire suppression.

Professor Vaios Lappas picture
Professor Vaios Lappas
17:05 — 17:25
Fortress Next-Generation Fire Retardants

It's time for a meaningful change in the retardant technology that we use to fight wildfires.  Fortress produces next-generation fire retardants that are fine-tuned for specific aerial and ground applications.  Fortress is the first entrant to the industry in over 20 years to be added to the U.S. Forest Service's Qualified Product List.  Committed to developing high-performance and environmentally friendly solutions to stop wildfires, Fortress' served at multiple airtanker bases across the Western US in 2023 and will be coming to an airtanker base near you in 2024.

Robert Baird picture
Robert Baird
17:25 — 17:30
Moderator’s Closing Remarks
17:30 — 18:30
Drinks Reception

Sponsored by Fortress North America


19:00 — 21:30
Event Dinner

Sponsored by Amentum Aviation

(Invited guests only)

07:45 — 08:40
Registration & Exhibition
08:40 — 08:50
Moderator's Opening Remarks
Chief Kim Zagaris picture
Chief Kim Zagaris
08:50 — 12:00
08:50 — 09:10
The Future of Night Aerial Fire Retardant Application & Use

The Quick Reaction Force (QRF) Program managed by Ventura County, LA County and Orange County Fire Authority began in 2021, as a "seasonal" operation.  It has evolved into a multi-year, 7/24/365 day program to account for the entire fire year.  No longer is aerial fire retardant application a daylight use only operation.  The QRF program continues to demonstrate that night aerial fire retardant application is a capability that can be managed safely and should be expanded throughout the West.  The future of night aerial fire retardant application operations requiring the use of mobile retardant bases (MRB) and large capacity tanked helitankers equipped for night vision goggle (NVG) operations will be presented.

Brian Fennessy picture
Brian Fennessy
09:10 — 09:50
PANEL: Night Operations

Night operations in the AFF mission have been transformed by the application of advanced technologies, and dedicated training and equipment. This game-changing capability will be debated by key practitioners, focusing also on lessons applied and what the future holds.

Brian Renner picture
Brian Renner
Beau Dobberstein picture
Beau Dobberstein
Tim Perkins picture
Tim Perkins
Michael Sagely picture
Michael Sagely
Dan Reese picture
Dan Reese
09:50 — 10:10
Training Pilots Using Multi-Aircraft Simulators

Aero-Flite has a long history of doing the right thing, focussing on safe operations and effective missions for over 60 years.  Supporting these goals, the company is training their pilots using the Mission Training System, a simulator platform that integrates 6 flight training devices - amphibious, airtanker and lead plane - enabling pilots the ability to fly together over the same simulated fire.

Chris Niemann picture
Chris Niemann
10:10 — 10:55
Refreshment Break & Networking
10:55 — 11:20
Wildland Fire Chemicals Standard Test Procedures

This presentation provides an overview of the US Forest Service, National Technology and Development Program, Wildland Fire Chemical Systems and Aerial Delivery Program testing procedures and qualification specifications for new wildland fire chemical products and the conformance criterion and validation of performance for aerial delivery systems.

Mike McFarlane picture
Mike McFarlane
Bryon Lake picture
Bryon Lake
11:20 — 11:40
When it Comes to Aerial Firefighting, Performance Matters

In this presentation, Jeff Emery will educate attendees on how today's advanced fire retardant technology is evolving to help aerial firefighters battle today's larger, more intense wildfires.  When it comes to aerial firefighting, performance matters, and having the right fire retardant is only part of the solution.  Just as important is having the ability to get the retardant to the fire on time, and in the right amount.  Emery will explain the critical role sophisticated fire retardant equipment, streamlined logistics, and a capable infrastructure play in helping firefighters to protect property and save lives from wildfire, sharing valuable insight on the mission critical needs of aerial firefighting, and the best way they are delivered.

Jeff Emery picture
Jeff Emery
11:40 — 12:00
Aerial Overwatch: Enhancing Firefighter Safety in the Field

In an effort to prevent firefighter inuries and fatalities, the utilization of advanced, sensor-equipped aircraft designed specifically for firefighter overwatch and wildfire monitoring presents a significant opportunity to enhance safety for wildland firefighters.

Mel Holtz picture
Mel Holtz
12:00 — 13:30
Lunch Break & Networking
13:30 — 13:55
CAL FIRE Contract Aircraft Standards & Requirements

Stu will discuss the increasing role of Exclusive-Use and Call-When-Needed contract aircraft and how they are integrated in to CAL FIRE's aerial firefighting program.  Additionally, current CAL FIRE contracting requirements and standards for civil operators will be addressed.

Stu Sprung picture
Stu Sprung
13:55 — 14:20

Interoperability in a unified cooperative airspace is critical to safety and success of inter-agency aviation operations.

Jason Nava picture
Jason Nava
14:20 — 15:30
14:20 — 14:45
The Canadian Experience

Canada has its worst forest fire season in statistical memory.  We had major fires from the east coast to the west coast and from the north to the south of the country.  Six of of thirteen agencies were particularly hard hit.  All in all, we were able to meet several challenges.

Luc Dugas picture
Luc Dugas
14:45 — 15:25
PANEL: Western States - Adapting to the New Environment
Ron Bollier picture
Ron Bollier
Vince Welbaum picture
Vince Welbaum
Randolph "Buster" Robinson picture
Randolph "Buster" Robinson
Chief Kim Zagaris picture
Chief Kim Zagaris
15:25 — 15:30
Moderator's Closing Remarks & Event Close

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