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LA fires proving the need for preventive water bombing

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posted on Dec, 9 2017 @ 10:56 PM
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The fires burning in the LA area now have underscored the need for persistent water bomber capability. Which won't happen until the government gets out of the business. Currently only the CL-415, and the BE-60 can give the required persistence. Both are capable of refilling their tanks from a river or lake, as opposed to landing and having to be refilled from tanker trucks or water tanks. Bombardier is considering restarting the CL-415 line due to how many fires are being seen around the world in recent years.

The government needs to get out of the way and allow this capability to be developed and put in place. Currently, they can't fund new aircraft purchases, or lease aircraft for longer than a year under current regulations. While I disagree with the premise of the article, that the insurance companies should fund the aircraft, and a rapid response unit, that is what does need to be done. The Forest Service is flying a mishmash of aircraft, and the Air Force MAFFS equipped C-130s can only be used under very specific circumstances.

www.airinsight.com...




edit on 12/9/2017 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason given)




posted on Dec, 9 2017 @ 11:04 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

What about the Supertanker?

Would something like that be more effective?



posted on Dec, 9 2017 @ 11:19 PM
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a reply to: Thorneblood

Yes and no. In an early fire situation, caught when it was small, then yes. But it has the same problem that the others have, in that it has to land, and at a fairly large airport, and refill the tanks on the ground. That takes time for the fire to spread. One of these fires spread at an average of something like an acre a minute once it was burning. If it takes them 20 minutes to get to an airport they can land at, 15 to refill the tanks, and 20 to get back, they've lost a lot of time in a fire like that.



posted on Dec, 9 2017 @ 11:22 PM
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First, what is the aircraft in your picture? (looks like a 717...which with rear low mounted engines like that wouldn't seem to be a good water bomber candidate).

Second - While I totally agree with getting the government out of the fire fighting business, I also know a fair bit about wildfires and fire management. Water bombers don't actually "put out" fires, they can't, and that's not their role. They assist in 'directing' fires. Wildfires (i.e. forest fires) have way, way, too much energy (like orders of magnitude more) to be extinguished by water bombing. The role of the water bomber is to delay fires in one direction so they will burn fuel in a different direction, usually toward fire breaks. It's about directing the energy mass, and not allowing the energy mass to develop in directions which are undesirable. Major wild fires aren't 'put out', they're exhausted of fuel and burned out. This is why the best fire fighting techniques involve actually setting fires (fighting fire with fire). Sometimes called 'back fires'. They steer the main fire into an area where they've burned out the fuel and attempt to exhaust it by trapping it.

Just thought you might be interested.

In any case, I totally agree with getting more of them in the air. They really do help, but many people are often confused about their true role.



posted on Dec, 9 2017 @ 11:46 PM
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a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

MD-87s belonging to Erickson Aero Tanker. Several companies are starting to use jet aircraft to get a faster response, with a slightly larger payload capability. Interestingly, the MD-87s have to drop with their gear down. They found some problems with them last year, and had to make some modifications to them and change the way they drop. These two were coming out of an airport near Santa Maria while we were up there, heading down to the Ventura fire.



Water bombers can't put fires out, but they can keep it from growing like these fires have until they can get ground crews to them and put them out. Like I said, some of these fires have spread faster than anything I've seen in recent years. The Thomas Fire (in Ventura) spread over 14 miles in the first night it was burning. It's currently at 155,000 acres, and is less than 20% contained. If they had something like CL-415s, that could have refilled quickly, they might have been able to keep it from spreading that fast.



posted on Dec, 9 2017 @ 11:46 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58 I know very little about aircrafts but I do know that Cali needs to consider a state of emergency and call forth the guard and fix this. It has got out of hand. This is such a sad thing to see and needs fixing NOW.



posted on Dec, 9 2017 @ 11:52 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58 Couldn't chinooks do the same around lakes and just keep going without as much time for refill? I remember one time at the Wichita Mountain out of fort sil and a fire started and chinooks put it out in no time. Was that just because it was small of does Cali not have that capability?



posted on Dec, 10 2017 @ 12:00 AM
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Water, or whatever: isn't bombing always a good solution?



posted on Dec, 10 2017 @ 12:14 AM
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a reply to: Allaroundyou

National guard is already working the scene and providing immense support.

Also @ Zaphod
Today I learned....thanks.



posted on Dec, 10 2017 @ 12:20 AM
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a reply to: Allaroundyou

The Thomas Fire currently has 30 helicopters working it. Columbia developed an internal tank capable of carrying 2800 gallons for their CH-47Ds that can be filled in a minute using a 10 inch hose, or they can use the 2600 gallon Bambi bucket. The only drawback is their speed. A CH-47D has a top speed (which it can't reach with a bucket or hose hanging down) of 196 mph. I believe their limited to around 150 mph with the buckets, but that's off the top of my head. A CL-415 has a top speed of 223 mph, with no real limit due to things hanging down, and can carry 1600 gallons of water, but can refill from anywhere that's six feet deep or more.



posted on Dec, 10 2017 @ 01:03 AM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

Yes water support is critical. But the problem is that the valleys are like massive wind tunnels. It's the tankers that help the ground crews control back fires.

As another member has stated...you fight fire with fire.

Let me tell you here in Nor Cal...I was up 22 hours wondering if I'd be walking in ashes.

And by the grace of god that 747 came dumping that orange stuff everywhere. The back fires were only controlled with air support.

You need the air support to maintain the back fire at higher elevations, you can't simply drive a truck up a steep grade and run a house.

These tankers are only effective if you have coordinated ground support. When they are working together, it controls the fire.



posted on Dec, 10 2017 @ 02:08 AM
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originally posted by: Zaphod58
a reply to: Thorneblood

One of these fires spread at an average of something like an acre a minute once it was burning.

Faster than that...

The Thomas Fire began Monday and moved exceptionally fast. It grew about 31,000 acres in about nine hours -- that's nearly an acre per second.

source



posted on Dec, 10 2017 @ 02:55 AM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

So are you suggesting using water from the Ocean? Wouldn't it also scoop up wildlife? Could it also spread irradiated water from Fukishima onto land?



posted on Dec, 10 2017 @ 02:57 AM
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a reply to: Metallicus

I'm stating that the aircraft that have been talked about that can refuel without going to an airport can take water from anywhere that's deep enough. They can take it from lakes, or even rivers that are deep enough.



posted on Dec, 10 2017 @ 03:00 AM
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originally posted by: Zaphod58
a reply to: Metallicus

I'm stating that the aircraft that have been talked about that can refuel without going to an airport can take water from anywhere that's deep enough. They can take it from lakes, or even rivers that are deep enough.


Doesn't California have a shortage of fresh water? I would think taking it from lakes and rivers would be a problem if they don't even let people water their lawns.



posted on Dec, 10 2017 @ 03:05 AM
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a reply to: Metallicus

They can easily take it from the lakes. Even with a fleet of CL-415s taking water from the lakes, they're not going to impact the water levels significantly, and much of the water they drop will probably end up back in the aquifer eventually.



posted on Dec, 10 2017 @ 05:28 AM
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Let it burn.
Anybody ever heard of fire-breaks?
There are too many trees too close together.
Nature is correcting the problem.
New life will arise.
edit on 10-12-2017 by skunkape23 because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 10 2017 @ 06:19 AM
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For the price of 1 CL-415 you can have 10 AT-802 FireBoss or SEATs. There’s a whole fleet of AT-802’s in Northern Cali not being utilized. The Politics If California and CalFire. It’s a joke.



posted on Dec, 10 2017 @ 07:59 AM
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originally posted by: skunkape23
Let it burn.
Anybody ever heard of fire-breaks?
There are too many trees too close together.
Nature is correcting the problem.
New life will arise.


The main problem is that people want to build their luxury log cabins up in those hills. Then they expect the fire department to stop every fire that might roast their home. They also get a bit tetchy about the strategy of creating small fires to burn off the build up of debris.

It's like those tragic fires in football stadiums and underground stations. The owners just allow all those cartons, newspapers, magazines to build up and dry out. One cigarette and the whole stadium goes up like a bonfire.
Had they kept it cleared, the worst that would have happened is that a crisp bag would have melted.



posted on Dec, 10 2017 @ 08:03 AM
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The other thing to keep in mind is water isn't actually the best thing to fight a fire with. It's the most readily available in most cases, but it's really a 'last ditch' effort. Retardant works far better, but retardant is a controversial substance and in places like CA anything 'controversial' is mired in politics. So fire fighting on wildfires becomes as much a political battle more so than a tactical one. CA, go figure. (I have little sympathy on this front)

Water can actually accelerate a fire, not knock it down. Pure water actually adds oxygen to the environment of a fire, and only works when you have massive amounts of it, enough to lower the flashpoint in an area. With the massive energy of a wildfire it takes colossal amounts of water to do this whereas retardant works in a different way. Retardant releases halides (among other chemical and endothermic reactions) on exposure to heat which works similar to Halon by actually removing oxygen from the air (not adding it) thereby starving the fire for oxygen.

So, while retardant can be carried as a powder, it still takes up volume. This is why it's better to mix up the retardant on the ground rather than in the air (the equipment for which takes up even more room). So grabbing water from a local water source like a lake while airborne isn't really a great option unless you can darken the skies with the fleets of aircraft it wold take to make pure water an effective firefighting tool. This is the principle reason by water bombers have to return to an airbase to replenish.



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