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General Description

Helicopter with helitorch extended from an external cargo hook.The helitorch is an aerial ignition device that dispenses ignited gelled fuel and is attached to the helicopter's external cargo hook. The use of gelled fuel allows the helitorch to be effective in larger forest fuels and when forest fuel conditions are marginal. The helitorch is a poor choice for under burning because gelled fuel can stick to the tree crowns.

Other disadvantages of using gelled fuel include the need for separate mixing systems, mixing crew, and a supply of highly flammable gasoline at the helitorch base. U.S. federal land management agencies allow only the pilot to be aboard the helicopter during helitorch operations. Burning operations must be supervised from the ground or another aircraft. Australia, Canada, and California allow a helitorch operator/burn boss to be aboard the helitorch aircraft during burning operations.

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