HOMEGROWN: Antonio Garcia testing the device at his home in Pitres, near Granada

A 73-YEAR-OLD Spanish inventor has created a device to turn helicopters into rain-making machines in an effort to better control forest fires.

Antonio Garcia, who lives in Pitres, in the Alpujarras, has spent the last 18 months working ‘12 hours a day’ to develop his invention, which he says will ‘revolutionise’ the fire service.

Garcia has spent €6,000 on a patent, granting his device international protection as he hopes to send it ‘all over the world’.

‘‘If it’s rain that puts out a forest fire, then we need to create that rain,’ Garcia told the Olive Press.

‘‘Helicopters have been used to control forest fires, but my invention uses a completely different way of spreading the water.’’

Garcia’s invention is effectively a sprinkler that can be adjusted by the pilot to control flow, intensity and volume of water according to the situation.

At present, helicopters used in fire fighting can only dump large containers of water in one go.

REVOLUTION: Pilots will be able to regulate the flow, intensity and volume of water

Garcia says he has presented his invention to the Spanish Military Emergencies Unit, as well as to fire fighting services in California, and that his device can also be used to decontaminate polluted urban areas suffering from drought.

‘‘The helicopters would fly in a group and would be able to suck up water from reservoirs through a telescopic pipe,’’ Garcia added.

‘‘Once empty the helicopters could recharge by taking water from swimming pools or tanks before returning to the blaze.’’

Garcia described himself as a fire expert and inventor, whose previous inventions include a special floor-cleaning device.

He told the Olive Press that though 73 years of age, he is still full of passion and hopes his newest creation will ‘revolutionise’ the fire extinguishing potential of the world.

‘‘This is not something I´m doing for money, but because it hurts me to see our forests getting destroyed,’’ Garcia added.

‘‘If we have the intelligence to travel to the moon, why don’t we use that to solve fires still raging here on earth?’’

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