New United Aerial Firefighters Association launched


United Aerial Firefighters Association (UAFA) is a new group of leading US aerial firefighting operators designed to represent the industry, promote safety and standardisation in the firefighting community.

Launched in December 2022, the non-profit association seeks to inform policymakers and legislators about key topics concerning aerial wildland firefighting. The challenges of safe and effective firefighting will become more significant, said the association’s new president, John Gould. “With the growing national security threat that wildfires pose year in and year out, the entire aerial firefighting community wants to ensure that we are doing everything we can to provide the highest levels of service to the tax paying citizens expecting better outcomes,” he said.

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,” said Gould, who is also the president and CEO of fixed wing fire-fighting operator 10 Tanker.

UAFA is the only association dedicated to aerial firefighting and is a unified voice advocating for safety and standardisation on the local, state, and federal levels, according to the association.

UAFA membership is available to companies which own or lease and operate aircraft, both rotary and fixed wing, UAVs/drones, or provide aerial delivered suppressants/retardants under contract with federal or state governmental entities for aerial firefighting services. Membership is also welcomed from companies which support the aerial firefighting industry in other ways or those engaged in studying the impact of wildfires.


UAFA Board members – at a glance

  • President: John Gould, 10 Tanker
  • Vice president, Bart Brainerd, Firehawk Helicopters
  • Secretary/treasurer: Brett L’Esperance, Dauntless
  • Air director: Tim Sheehy, Bridger Aerospace
  • Director: Jennifer Draughon, Neptune Aviation Services.

UAFA’s four goals

  1. To provide a single voice when speaking to our customers or Congress about issues that impact our industry
  2. Improve the contracting process through collaboration with customers prior to the RFP being formed
  3. Identify and provide authoritative experts for industry
  4. Respond to industry issues as they develop.

Top and Above: The new United Aerial Firefighters Association welcomes members operating rotary and fixed wing fire-fighting missions in addition to industry suppliers. President of the association is John Gould, who also leads the aerial fire fighting company 10Tanker. (Image courtesy of 10Tanker).