Assorted short aerial firefighting videos

MD-87 drop
Screenshot of MD-87 drop video posted to Twitter by @sarahcarter87 August 13, 2017.

Isaac (@jetcitystar) sent us some links to some great videos on Twitter of aerial firefighting. I think you will enjoy some of this air tanker and helitanker porn.

The image above is a screenshot from the video below.

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Time-lapse: setting up a retardant base on the Lolo National Forest

In the video you’ll see a fire retardant base being set up for helicopters at Upper Willow Creek on the Lolo National Forest in Western Montana. Helicopters with internal or belly tanks will be able to hover over the two large retardant tanks and using their “snorkel” hose, refill their tanks.

Air-Crane starts contract in Southern California

An Erickson Air-Crane just started its summer contract with the Los Angeles City Fire Department.

CAL FIRE selects Blackhawk as replacement for Super Huey helicopters

Above: A CAL FIRE Super Huey undergoing winter maintenance at the agency’s aviation facility at McClellan Air Field March 24, 2016. This was one of the few CAL FIRE helicopters that still has “CDF” painted on the tail.

(Originally published at 8:40 a.m. MDT August 3, 2017)

The last time we wrote about the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection’s (CAL FIRE) attempt to purchase a new fleet of firefighting helicopters they had just thrown out the submitted bids. The potential suppliers hoping to replace CAL FIRE’s 12 Super Hueys interpreted the solicitation specs in different ways. One company, for example, was bidding on what they assumed were apples, while another was picturing oranges. Then it was back to the drawing board.

That process is nearing completion, with the announcement yesterday by CAL FIRE Chief Ken Pimlott that they “intend” to award the contract to Air Methods/United Rotorcraft of Englewood, Colorado, which offered the Sikorsky S-70i Black Hawk, configured as a civilian version of the UH-60 Black Hawk.

Sikorsky S-70i Black_Hawk
Sikorsky S-70i Black Hawk (reg. SP-YVC), built by PZL-Mielec in Poland, at ILA Berlin Air Show 2012. Photo by Julian Herzog.

Before the contract is signed other bidders have the opportunity to protest the award. If one is filed, the final decision will be made by a neutral administrative law judge in the Office of Administrative Hearings.

The original plan in 2016 was to buy nine helicopters — about three a year for three years, with an option to spring for an even dozen. But that commitment appears to have changed.

“Even after a contract is awarded”, Chief Pimlott said yesterday, “the number and timing of the State’s orders will be determined on a year-by-year basis. The contract does not commit the State to any specific number of purchases or delivery schedule.”

Since 2010 at least some, if not all, Sikorsky S-70i’s have been built by Poland-based PZL Mielec, a subsidiary of Sikorsky Aircraft. Sikorsky, now owned by Lockheed Martin, advertises the helicopter as being suitable for utility uses and complex search and rescue missions. It can be ordered with a window gun — or at least a mount for one.

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Jerome and Norman.
Typos or errors, report them HERE.

Video: rappelling into the Cascades

Rappelling in the Cascades! It doesn’t get any better than this for an aerial delivered firefighter! Packing out on the PCT!

A post shared by Central Oregon Rappellers (@centraloregonrappellers) on

Adam sent us the link to this Instagram video that was shot from a spotter’s perspective of two firefighters rappelling in the Cascade Range in central Oregon to work on a lightning-caused fire.

Thanks Adam!

Helicopters and a C-130 at the Detwiler Fire

These photos were taken by CAL FIRE at a spot fire on the Detwiler Fire and at the helibase off Highway 49 north of Mariposa, California Thursday July 27. A spot fire added another 100 acres, to bring the current size up to 81,650 acres.

map Detwiler Fire california
Map of the Detwiler Fire showing the location of a 100-acre spot fire that occurred July 27, 2017. Click to enlarge.

helicopter Detwiler Fire california

air tanker 116 C-130
USFS Air Tanker 116 sprays retardant on the spot fire on the north end of the Detwiler Fire, July 27, 2017. CAL FIRE photo.

helicopter Detwiler Fire california

Helicopters at Stevensville, Montana

Richard Wissenbach sent us these photos of helicopters at the Stevensville, Montana airport which is off Highway 93, 24 air miles south of Missoula. He said a helibase has been established there.

The airport is 10 to 22 miles from several active fires, including the Lolo Peak Fire and the Sapphire Complex of Fires.

helicopters Stevensville Montana wildfire

helicopters Stevensville Montana wildfire

helicopters Stevensville Montana wildfire

helicopters Stevensville Montana wildfire

Thanks Richard!