MAFFS units fight fires in western Utah

Two C-130s carrying MAFFS units were deployed to fires in Utah on Monday. The units were officially called up on Saturday morning, to be based out of Boise.

Updates Tuesday from the planes (you can follow them on Twitter):

  • On Monday the planes did 12 drops of 18,000 gallons of retardant.
  • Drops were made three times over the Lincoln and Sheep Fires in Utah.
  • Six drops were made over the Tunnel Hollow fire in Utah as well.





Petition to reinstate the Martin Mars

Martin Mars at Lake Elsinore, California

Martin Mars at Lake Elsinore, California

An internet-based petition to urge the government of British Columbia to issue another contract for the water-scooping Martin Mars air tanker has garnered over 16,000 supporters.

The appeal on the petition site, states:

Our province is burning. The Martin Mars waterbombers have stood the test of time. They are the best, most efficient and cheapest way to get the most water on a fire in the shortest amount of time. Contract the Coulson Martin Mars Waterbombers for 5 more years to protect BC from wildfires. Our province is burning and these are the best planes for the job! It cost $750,000 for a season. You are paying $3 million a day right now. Do the right thing! These planes are a bargain!

The Coulson Company announced in September of 2013 that they no longer had a contract with the government of British Columbia for the Martin Mars. The 7,000-gallon aircraft helped firefighters suppress fires for 53 years, and dropped over 8,000 loads. Built in the 1940s, it was converted into an air tanker with the capability to drop plain water or gel on fires.
Thanks and a hat tip go out to Mark.


DC-10 damages wing while taxiing at Moses Lake

Wing damage on Tanker 910.

Wing damage on Tanker 910.

One of the DC-10 Very Large Air Tankers incurred some damage to a wing while it was taxiing at the air tanker base at Moses Lake, Washington. While relocating in the loading pit area Tanker 910 struck a portable “air stair”, a structure that can be pushed up to the aircraft door. Two people on the ground were marshaling the DC-10 as it slowly moved, directing it where to go and supposedly watching for obstructions.

air stair

The “air stair” that was struck by the wing.

The wing was damaged on the front and back sides –the aileron and the slats. Rick Hatton, the President of 10 Tanker Air Carrier, said on Sunday that parts to repair the damage were en route to Moses Lake. The company’s other DC-10, Tanker 911, was also at the tanker base when the accident happened.

Mr. Hatton said retardant systems tests on their third DC-10 which is being converted now into an air tanker will begin the week of July 28. In a month or two they hope to have it fully operational. It will be designated as Tanker 912.


Firefighting aircraft at Boise

SEATs 802 and 824 at BOI, July 19, 2014

Tankers 802 and 824 at Boise, July 19, 2014

On Saturday I found myself at the Boise Airport and grabbed some photos of some of the aircraft.

Infrared plane, N149Z

Infrared plane, N149Z, at Boise, July 19, 2014

T-41, a BAe-146, at Boise, July 19, 2014

T-41, a BAe-146, at Boise, July 19, 2014

Back in February we wrote about the BLM awarding the first contract in the United States for a jet-powered lead plane. It was parked at Boise on Saturday.

Citation lead plane, N10R,

Citation lead plane, N10R, at Boise, July 19, 2014

As a bonus, below are a couple of pictures of a helicopter working at the Whiskey Creek Complex near Lowman, Idaho.

Helicopter dipping at the Whiskey Creek Fire

Helicopter dipping at the Whiskey Creek Fire near Lowman, Idaho, July 18, 2014

Helicopter with bucket on Whiskey Creek Fire,

Helicopter with bucket on Whiskey Creek Fire, July 18, 2014


DC-10 drops on a fire near Twisp, Washington

These photos of a DC-10 air tanker dropping on a fire near Twisp, Washington were no doubt taken with a telephoto lens with the aircraft on the other side of a ridge. From the vantage point of the camera it appears that the aircraft was very low, but camera angles can be deceiving. Regardless, the photos are interesting.

Thanks and a hat tip go out to Jim.


MAFFS units called up to assist with northwest fires


MAFFS aircraft at Cheyenne, April 30, 2014, MAFFS numbers 0, 1, and 3

Two Department of Defense C-130s have been called up to help fight massive fires in Washington state and Oregon, the National Interagency Fire Center announced on Saturday morning.

Read more about the northwest fires from Wildfire Today. 

The two planes, equipped with Modular Airborne Firefighting Systems (MAFFS), were deployed from the 153rd Airlift Wing of the Wyoming Air National Guard in Cheyenne. The portable retardant units loaded onto the C-130s can carry up to 3,000 gallons of retardant. They can discharge their entire load in a matter of seconds.

The MAFFS units will initially be based in Boise.

Read more about the MAFFS units from Fire Aviation.


Air tanker museum at Greybull moves


When we wrote about the classic air tankers at the highway rest stop on highway 20/14/16 just west of Greybull, Wyoming a couple of months ago the museum was still located at the nearby airport. When we visited today it had moved into a trailer at the rest stop.

it was busy there. They had some very cool shirts, but were sold out of all sizes except for small. More are on the way, they said.