Firefighting Pilots and Air Technicians Get Special Bonus

By 24 August 2017

Near the end, hopefully, of the most difficult fire fighting season in the last 30 years, each will get well-deserved 5,000 kunas.

According to reports from the Ministry of Defence, the most prominent heroes of the fire fighting efforts in Croatia, pilots and technicians of the Croatian Air Force who are members of the fire fighting squadron, will be awarded bonuses for “enormous efforts during the fire fighting season,” reports Večernji List on August 24, 2017.

The bonus was initiated by Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Damir Krstičević, with the consent of Prime Minister Andrej Plenković. The decision will be confirmed at the government's session next week and the 5,000 kunas bonuses will be paid to pilots of fire fighting planes and helicopters and aviation technicians. The Defence Ministry says that this fire fighting season was the worst since the independence of Croatia.

The season started 84 days ago. During that period, air fire fighting forces were in action for 70 days. In August, there has not been a single day in which the air force was not involved in fire fighting.

The bonus includes all pilots and aircraft technicians from the fire fighting squadron, which is mostly located at the 93rd Air Base at the Zadar airport in Zemunik and, to a lesser extent, at the Divulje base in Split, where there are two dedicated Mi-8 MTV-1 helicopters and their crews and technicians. Zemunik is the base for crews and technicians of six fire fighting aircraft CL-415, and six Air Tractors (5 AT 802 A and one two-seater AT-802 F).

The bonus will be received by about a hundred pilots and technicians in total. It was initiated by Minister Krstičević, after having repeatedly witnessed the dedication of the crews and the technicians. They are giving a crucial contribution to fighting the record number of major fires this year.

The constant battle is being waged in the air during the day, and at night, the action moves to hangars, where teams of technicians and engineers work on planes to make them ready for the next morning. There is not much time because as soon as the dawn breaks, fire department commanders from across the coastal areas begin to ask for the assistance of the squadron, which is often the only way many of the fires can be extinguished.

Translated from Večernji List.