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LA fires proving the need for preventive water bombing

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posted on Dec, 21 2017 @ 01:29 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58
Yes the BAE-146/RJ-85 is a great Initial Attack platform, very quick and not too big. I've seen them go down the side of a mountain low level, several times, dropping retardant, and out through the valley. Pretty amazing.




posted on Dec, 21 2017 @ 01:39 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

How does a writer say the government should get out of the way and then mention Bombardier in the same breath? What a wanker!



posted on Dec, 21 2017 @ 05:14 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

Other places, that have huge fires, like California, not so much.
. Ahh well there is a major problem right there. Little wonder then that we hear reports every season about hundreds of homes being lost in the foothills, if that happened here there would be a national outcry.

Interesting that they are finally turning to jets on a wide scale and finding them better than expected.



posted on Dec, 21 2017 @ 05:48 PM
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a reply to: thebozeian

I was rather surprised, given the types they're using. I found it rather interesting that the MD-80 series has to drop with the gear down.



posted on Dec, 22 2017 @ 07:25 AM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

Interesting. I know even the local base can handle the smaller jets; I had never heard of or seen a medium/short haul jet land at the local airport before, so I thought I wasn't seeing right when I saw one coming in to land in a hazy, cloudy Winter late afternoon a few years ago. Turned out not long after that they announced the addition of jets to the fleet. It is good to have the variety of aircraft. Oh, and that was interesting about the gear-down MD-80.

Ok, dropping off a fun link

Incredible video from the receiving end of a DC-10 Supertanker’s fire retardant drop



posted on Dec, 22 2017 @ 07:33 AM
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a reply to: desert

People don't realize the force that is behind those drops. I saw a great demonstration once where they set a drum out on a dirt road, and started a fire in it. A CL-215 came over and dropped on it, just like it would on a regular fire. After the camera cleared, the drum was just gone.

They set it up because idiots were trying to get under the drops in some places, trying to be "cool" or something. So they wanted to show that it could kill you if you were that dumb.



posted on Dec, 22 2017 @ 07:58 AM
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Wow! That info should be a PSA



posted on Dec, 22 2017 @ 09:39 AM
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The fires that caught everyone's attention this year (Napa Sonoma, So Cal) were primarily the result of extreme weather (winds!) events. Extreme winds whipped up infernos in populated areas. There were wildland fires burning in rural Nor Cal (likewise British Columbia) that made for great local news but not much statewide news.

Brush removal does happen, but who does it and who is required to do it varies. Is the property/land private or public; city, county, state, federal? In rural areas is it grassland/chaparral or forested? Clearing with firing (prescribed burns) involves looking at several factors, which constantly change: wind, temperature, humidity, air quality requirements. If these requirements are not heeded, a firing could itself become a major incident. CA has a dry climate in general, a variety of climes, and varying population densities, making it more difficult to find burn windows and lengthy burn windows as other areas.

Foresters have marked trees and forest floor areas for burn for years. Cutting every tree down and sweeping a wildland to avoid fires would be like never allowing hair to grow in order to avoid lice. What has changed is the amount of dead trees, which now number in the millions. Who has the money to remove them?

The National Forests here let lightening fires burn, keeping an eye on them to protect structures/inhabited areas if needed. Once a human caused fire starts, the goal is to get on it as quickly as possible. The Rough Fire a couple years ago was lightening caused, but exploded to over 150,000 acres in the dry vegetation and dead trees. With changing climate in general, areas are becoming increasingly drier, and even lightening fires can become major events. Some of the fires might merge to become a "complex fire".

A local mountain (human caused) fire burned into an area that had no recorded history of ever having fire (for at least 100 years). But that fire management went even better than had originally expected, despite one edge burning into that area.

Just as other areas might have to contend with rising water levels, CA will have to contend with increasing fires. Also, fires that do occur are happening in increasingly populated areas, more chances for human caused fires and more chances for fires in general to be more damaging. Decades ago, a fire on 20 acres might burn 20 acres of vegetation, where now it could also burn down a home.

On the good news side, CA has great cooperation and coordinating efforts from the various firefighting units up and down the state (city to federal). The National Guard can even get deployed to help out (with heli water drops or Air National Guard provides aerial imagery support for Southern California fires). And the Thomas Fire has minimal growth and is now 65% contained, but has 30-40 more miles of containment line to be put in. But those lines will be in non/sparsely populated National Forest lands, as populated areas look pretty much ok now, with just continued eyes out for spot fires. So it looks like Christmas for some will be in the mountains.



posted on Dec, 22 2017 @ 09:59 AM
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One more thing to drop off here.... I hadn't known about this until it was deployed locally. There were inaccessible areas for ground crews (steep canyons), so helicopters dropped these to start backfires. Cool.




posted on Dec, 22 2017 @ 05:02 PM
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originally posted by: desert
Wow! That info should be a PSA


It's Darwins work, these people likely start the fire to get the water bombers to soak them.

We don't want to warn them incase they expand their gene pool!



posted on Dec, 22 2017 @ 05:23 PM
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a reply to: desert

One of the things that makes the point of the article is MAFFS. There are something like 7 active units with an additional 4-5 spares and a training unit (that's going by memory so that's probably off). They get used quite often during fire season (one even crashed a couple years ago during a drop), but under the law, they can only be used when all other available aircraft are in use, and then only after a formal request in writing by the USFS.



posted on Dec, 23 2017 @ 09:06 AM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

I had not heard of MAFFS. Thank you for the info!

No doubt they were called out this past Summer. There were so many fires of all sizes all over the state, that aircraft got stretched thin. The local base had to send one plane almost 200 miles away, out of it's command area, at the same time they were called in on a local grass fire that spread over some hills (1500 acres). That one I could see through binoculars the planes and heli doing their work. And here it is Dec, and yesterday I heard two planes rumble overhead (I think one being the spotter plane), and sure enough they were on their way to what was no doubt a grass fire; they returned shortly, making quick work of that incident.

Found this for MAFFS Thomas Fire




posted on Dec, 23 2017 @ 09:59 AM
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a reply to: desert

I just saw last night that they were ending their flights on the Thomas fire. They flew something like 44 hours, and thousands of drops on the fire.

All of these crews have to clang when they walk, especially the 747 and DC-10 pilots.



posted on Dec, 23 2017 @ 11:23 AM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

I do not know how those pilots do it! That is some specialized flying. I briefly mentioned this before, but it was my introduction to "fire bombers" 40 years ago. As we were driving up the canyon, we started to see puffs of smoke ahead, then rounding a curve we were stopped by an official and could see smoke and flames on the hillside next to us. All of a sudden I heard the loudest rumble directly overhead the car, but before I could get out of the car to look, the plane had dropped its retardant and had flown up and over the side of the canyon. We were then allowed to continue up the road, but I was so stunned and impressed by that flying event, that it stuck with me all these years.

That is good news about no more need for the aircraft. TF is winding down. These are the hand crews that will work to fully contain it. You can see the type of terrain they've had to work with. If the fire were to advance further into the National Forest, it would have gone into denser, taller growth of scrub pine and bush. One of the things about working fires on the coast range, and especially the TF, is changes in humidity.... overnight the relative humidity recently went from 60% to 15%.Crazy.




posted on Dec, 23 2017 @ 11:29 AM
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a reply to: desert

A few years ago we were at the Little America in Wyoming. There were two or three trucks there with Granite Mountain Hotshots on them, and we saw the guys sitting in the snack bar eating, grinning, and joking with each other. Less than a week later they were all killed in the fire they were going to help fight. It was very sobering.

I saw a video a couple years ago, up in Canada, an 18 wheeler caught fire in the middle of nowhere. They were stopping cars on the road, and the police were just standing there. Suddenly out of nowhere a CL-415 comes shooting overhead and drops on the truck and puts it out.



posted on Dec, 23 2017 @ 02:05 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

Wow, right on the burning truck! I had never heard of something like that.

Oh, yes, so very sobering
About 15 years ago, my husband and I had gone up into the local Sierras for a picnic at a favorite secluded spot. We set out chairs and proceeded to eat and drink our lunch. All off a sudden when I looked up to the top of the ridge behind us, I could see black smoke. Ok, not to panic yet. About 10 mins later there was a LOT more smoke in the sky. I thought it was only about a mile and a half away at a little community. (Turned out it was probably 8 miles away as crow flies, the McNally Fire.) We threw everything into the Jeep and headed out to the main road. At the intersection, we could see much more of the sky, a Hellish sight, about 1/3 covered red and black. We started down the main road off the mountain, as fast and safely as we could. Lo and behold, a short distance later up comes a truck filled with a crew going towards the fire as quickly as we were trying to get away from it. God bless people whose job is to go into danger!

When you mentioned Montana, I thought about a book I read about 5 years ago. I had heard about and wanted to read about Silver Valley, Idaho. The book included what the people went through in the "Great Fire of 1910".... 3 million acres!!.... and it was when Ed Pulaski invented the Pulaski Axe for firefighting. Thank God for air support nowadays!

Well, I wish all at ATS a Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday time.



posted on Dec, 23 2017 @ 02:16 PM
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Curiosity question, does California still do nothing to control the dry under brush? (annual controlled burns for example)

I remember that came out after a bad fire season a decade or so ago, that they stopped doing the control burns for environmental reasons I think, and a few years later they had major fire break out because of all the extra fuel. (timing subject to faulty memory)



posted on Dec, 23 2017 @ 04:12 PM
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a reply to: Irishhaf

Thanks for asking! I think when people ask about prescribed (controlled) burning, they are thinking of federal forested land. Yes, both National Forest and National Park Service conduct prescribed burns.

It's true that there was a time period when fires of any cause were suppressed, but by the 1960s that idea was starting to change. The 1970s brought studies into the area of using fire as part of forest management. And by the latter 1980s, controlled burning programs were put in place. Again, though, because starting any fire has repercussions, prescribed burns have to be done under strict weather conditions and include effects on surrounding communities as far as health concerns. In CA that window is limited as re both weather and population health hazards.

Maybe it was 10 years ago (?) that the Los Angeles area had finally come off some dry years with a drenching rainy year. The next fire season meant an abundance of vegetation, and with a dry year again, there were fires again. Recent years was an extended period of bad drought in CA, then we got drenching rain last year, more vegetation this year, then extreme weather events to make the recent record fire. And despite record rain/snow for one year in the Sierras, the climes of the mountains have been changing over the years, and there are millions of dead trees.

Also, when talking about forest management, there is a difference between Park Service and Forest Service, as the PS takes into consideration preservation of human record and distinct flora and fauna, while the FS preserves for resource management (i.e. tree harvesting). Who wants to harvest dead trees profitably or just pay for it is another thing. The Thomas Fire had 63% on Fed land, the rest state and some local (with their own prescribe burns if any).

I see much of the prescribed burning issue as being one of smoke. Damned if you do, damned if you don't. Communities complain when there is pb and also complain when smoke from a lightening fire (handled as a natural burn) drifts over the mountains to their community. IOW the natural burns are complained about because the fires are not being put out fast enough!

Re the terrible Napa-Sonoma fires this Fall, those were on state and private land, and I am not familiar with state burning; and it would be up to local govts (city, county) for their plans. And those fires (like the TF) were also caused by an extreme weather event (50 to 70 mph winds). Those fires went into areas with city streets and sidewalks! Even the city of Los Angeles cannot escape fires burning in their hills. ETA the Thomas Fire started on non-federal land but eventually ended up on National Forest land.

Bottom line, though, is it's not just CA experiencing major fires. I have friends in British Columbia who could not believe how bad it was up there this year.


edit on 23-12-2017 by desert because: ETA



posted on Dec, 23 2017 @ 04:31 PM
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a reply to: desert


Appreciate the response, I just remember as a young guy growing up in Florida ranches even did yearly controlled burns.

I learned something today, always a bonus.





posted on Dec, 23 2017 @ 04:42 PM
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This one?



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