Operators join to form United Aerial Firefighters Association

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Leading aerial firefighting operators have joined together to form the first industry association dedicated to serving and fostering safety and standardisation in the aerial firefighting community.

The United Aerial Firefighters Association (UAFA) was founded at the end of 2022 as a non-profit association with the goal of informing policymakers and legislators about important issues concerning the increasingly critical nature of aerial wildland firefighting. 

UAFA exists to bring together industry experts for collaboration and to provide a unified voice for the industry when speaking to state and federal stakeholders, fire agencies, and the public about wildfires and issues impacting the aerial firefighting community.  The association is headquartered in Washington, DC, ensuring that members have a significant presence on Capitol Hill and at federal agencies. 

‘Tremendous change’

John Gould, President and CEO of 10 Tanker Air Carrier, one of the founding members of the UAFA, said: “We’ve seen tremendous change occur in wildland fire aviation over the last twenty years. As we look ahead, these challenges will only become more significant.  While individual organisations within the industry will always be competitive, we believe the collective expertise represented within UAFA membership will help to ensure our industry continues to grow with the innovation, safety, and standardisation necessary to deliver the best service possible to our customers.”   

Gould serves as the inaugural President for the UAFA Board of Directors. Other Founding Members included on the Board are:  Vice President, Bart Brainerd, Firehawk Helicopters; Secretary/Treasurer Brett L’Esperance, Dauntless Air; Director Tim Sheehy, Bridger Aerospace; and Director Jennifer Draughon, Neptune Aviation Services.

UAFA membership is open to companies who own or lease and operate aircraft, UAVs/drones, or provide aerial-delivered suppressants/retardants under contract with federal or state governmental entities for aerial firefighting services. Companies who provide products and services to the aerial firefighting industry, non-profits, and state and national agencies are also encouraged to join. 

For information on the UAFA, visit UAFA.org, or email [email protected].

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