Air Tractor, Inc. has joined the United Aerial Firefighting Association (UAFA), a new organization dedicated to advocating for aerial firefighting safety and standardization on the local, state, and federal levels.
“Wildfire seasons have become more complex with increasing demands for aerial firefighting assets. It has become clear that the aerial firefighting industry must unite its voices to achieve better outcomes for the people and property threatened by these fires,” said Air Tractor President Jim Hirsch. “As the leading builder of firefighting SEAT aircraft, it only made sense that Air Tractor added its voice to this organization.”
Air Tractor joined the organization as an Affiliate Member, which categorizes companies that support the aerial firefighting industry including original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), insurance companies, and other associated for-profit entities.
The United Aerial Firefighting Association was established in 2022 to foster and promote safety and standardization in the aerial firefighting community through education, advocacy, and collaboration. The association educates stakeholders impacted by wildfire on ways to improve wildfire fighting outcomes by utilizing the current and future fleet in more productive and efficient ways.
UAFA was founded not to compete with other aerial firefighting organizations, but as an association to represent all aerial firefighting stakeholders and platform types through a professionally run lobbying entity.
As an advocacy group, UAFA also brings together the most experienced industry experts to provide a strong and coordinated voice for the entire aerial firefighting community with the goal of informing policymakers and legislators about important issues concerning the increasingly critical and complex nature of aerial wildland firefighting.
“No matter if you run SEATs such as the AT-802F or Fire Boss, helicopters or LATs, we are all dealing with the same challenges that need to be addressed at the federal and state level,” Hirsch said.
The group also hopes to improve the contracting process through collaboration with customers prior to the RFP being formed, identify and provide authoritative experts for the industry, and respond to industry issues swiftly as they develop.
UAFA advocates for solutions that include a combination of investment in prevention, suppression, and community hardening that produce better outcomes for tax-paying citizens in the line of fire. By driving standards for improved safety, competency, and response times across the entire aerial firefighting complex, UAFA believes it can help the citizens and agencies it serves, and help create opportunities for better results.