"Due to the fact that in the last few months there has been a stronger focus on flat fires within the federal territory, the exercise aims at a deepening in the segment of forest fire fighting", frank kuchler, head of the wildflecken fire department, outlined the key points of the two-day training, in which his troops played a leading role. The background to the current process was even more extensive, as the press officer at the site, alexander reub, explained. "The whole complex of civil-military cooperation, in short ZMZ, is to be intensified for a real operation", the lieutenant described the planned course of the action with 77 participants from bavaria and hesse.
The commanders involved in the exercise included, for example, members of the wildflecken troop airbase command, the hesse helicopter squadron, the disaster control unit in the district of fulda, and the blue-light organizations of the three counties bordering the federal military area. All those involved were precisely instructed by radio from a specially set up operations center and directed to the individual stations in the country.
In doing so, it was necessary to leave the beaten track several times, and this also in a figurative sense. Because fire director harald ecker from the hessian ministry of the interior had not only adapted the task to the current situation, numerous new technical devices were also used. Their handling requires a lot of expertise and manual dexterity. In the event of an emergency, every move has to be made. "Today is a good opportunity to work out the details on a larger scale", according to the experienced expert, who has been keeping a close eye on the events surrounding slide 14.
Fighting fires from the air
Circling helicopters are not an unusual sight at the troop training area wildflecken. But when their pilots, with a lot of fingertip feeling at the gearshift lever, approach the tank at the tank washing station to fill their bambi buckets, the scenario looks quite spectacular. With the full oversized bags, which have a capacity of between 700 and 1900 liters, they were then airlifted to the fictitious fires. At the finish line, a good eye was needed, because the course had to be loosened on a flat marked with flutter tape as well as precisely in a small square.
While the helicopters made their rounds in the sky, the firefighters on the ground were not idle. With their special vehicles, they were responsible, among other things, for monitoring the forest firebreaks, which in the country are natural obstacles to spreading flames due to the topography alone.
"The supply of fresh water is also guaranteed in the area of the troop training area in the open country", fire chief frank kuchler emphasized in this context. Five strategically well-placed cisterns, each with a capacity of around 100,000 liters, serve this purpose. And the expert has two more interesting figures up his sleeve: "we have to print out around 500 assignments a year. In about 100 cases, fires are the cause". Most of the time, however, it was a matter of technical assistance of various kinds. This ranges from the recovery of vehicles involved in accidents to the removal of oil tracks.