RJ85 on the Edwards Fire

RJ85 Edwards Fire in Alameda County, California
An RJ85 drops on the Edwards Fire in Alameda County, California, September 26, 2017. Photo by Joel V.

Joel sent us this photo of an RJ85 dropping on the Edwards Fire near Oakland, California. Thanks Joel.

As a bonus, here’s a video of an MD-87 dropping on the same fire, shot by Darryl Poe.

The fire burned about 22 acres near Edwards Avenue and Mountain Blvd, six miles southeast of Oakland.

LA Times photo of DC-10 dropping on Canyon Fire

By LA Times Staff Photographer Irfan Khan.

Very impressive photo by LA Times Staff Photographer Irfan Khan. (Click on the photo twice to see a larger version.)

More information about the 2,500-acre Canyon Fire near Corona, California.

Perfect photography of an air tanker drop

The DC-10 was dropping on the La Tuna Fire in Southern California on September 2, 2017.

Helicopter photographer Kevin Takumi shows the perfect technique for filming an air tanker drop. He zooms in close at first on Air Tanker 910, a DC-10, then at the completion of the drop zooms out so you can see where the retardant lands.

Here’s a few more aerial firefighting videos:

Continue reading “Perfect photography of an air tanker drop”

Tanker 72 at Fox Field

Above: CAL FIRE Tanker 72, an S-2T, at Fox Field September 2, 2017. Photo by BT Nutter.

(Originally published at 6:18 a.m. MDT September 16, 2017)

BT Nutter took these photos of Tanker 72 at Fox Field near Lancaster, California earlier this month.

Thanks BT!

S-2 T-72 Fox Field
CAL FIRE Tanker 72, an S-2T, at Fox Field September 2, 2017. Photo by BT Nutter.
S-2 T-72 Fox Field
CAL FIRE Tanker 72, an S-2T, at Fox Field September 2, 2017. Photo by BT Nutter.

NTSB investigating LAFD helicopter tree strike

lafd fire 4 helicopter
On June 20 the Los Angeles Fire Department announced their just-purchased helicopter, “Fire 4”, was en route to LA.

The Los Angeles Fire Department is not saying much about an NTSB investigation into an accident that involved their brand new firefighting helicopter, Fire 4, an AW139 that they just put into service one or two months ago. On September 2 Fire 4 was making water drops on the La Tuna Fire in Los Angeles and struck a tree, according to a preliminary accident report by the FAA.

At least one person told NBC 4 in Los Angeles that while monitoring fire traffic on a scanner he heard the pilot say he hit something and put out a Mayday call. The pilot made a successful emergency landing at the Verdugo Hills High School football field.

fire 3 lafd helicopter
File photo of Fire 4’s sister ship, Fire 3. Both are AW139’s. LAFD photo.

You’ll probably want to click on full screen at bottom-right in the video below.

Heliweb has photos that appear to show small tree branches embedded in the damaged areas of the fuselage while the aircraft was parked on the football field. The helicopter apparently received substantial damage to the tail boom, stabilizers, and left side sponson/wheel housing. The left side stabilizer is missing in the photos.

Continue reading “NTSB investigating LAFD helicopter tree strike”

Smokejumpers attack fire in Channel Islands

On September 11 smokejumpers attacked a wildfire in Channel Islands National Park off the southern California coast. The jumpers are calling it “historic”, since it is the first time for them to jump a fire in the Park.

The fire on Santa Cruz Island was reported that morning by a boater and the firefighters were over the fire by about 1 p.m. They departed from a temporary spike jumper base at Porterville, California, which can be established when there is increased initial attack activity in that part of the state.


Continue reading “Smokejumpers attack fire in Channel Islands”

Outstanding photo of the 747 on the Palmer Fire (new: added videos)

(Originally published at 7:22 a.m. MDT September 5, 2017)

A few days ago Cy Phenice sent us an excellent photo of Air Tanker 944, the 747 SuperTanker, dropping on the Palmer Fire south of Yucaipa, California which we published September 3. Now we have another great photo of the huge airplane dropping on the fire.

It was taken by Leroy Leggit with a Nikon D810. He shot it at 1/800, F 5.6, using a 70-200mm lens at 150mm.

He said he took the photo from the top of a hill looking down at the aircraft.

747 Palmer Fire supertanker
Air Tanker 944, a 747-400, drops near structures on the Palmer Fire south of Yucaipa, California at 4:25 p.m. PDT September 2, 2017. Photo by Leroy Leggitt, used with permission.

He told us:

I didn’t know anything about the 747 supertanker until it appeared to my right (at eye level) headed straight toward the fire… what an amazing and unexpected sight… I looked online and saw that it had only been in service for a few days.

The Palmer Fire was reported at 1:33 p.m. MDT September 2, 2017. It is nearly officially contained according to CAL FIRE after burning 3,874 acres.

This was the second fire the aircraft was used on after receiving certification and a contract from CAL FIRE. The 747 was dispatched from McClellan Air Field near Sacramento. According to FlightAware it cruised south at over 600 mph at times before dropping on the fire about an hour later, then reloaded at McClellan and completed a second sortie, dropping almost 19,000 gallons again, splitting the load into two drops.

(UPDATED at 10:07 a.m. MDT September 5, 2017)

After Johnny commented that videos are available, we checked and found these. The first one appears to be the same drop seen in the photo above.

747 assists firefighters on the Palmer Fire

Above: the 747 SuperTanker drops on the Palmer Fire south of Calimesa and Yucaipa in southern California, September 2, 2017. Photo by Cy Phenice, used with permission.

(Originally published at 12:50 p.m. MDT September 3, 2017.)

On September 2 the 747 SuperTanker was used on the second fire since receiving certification and a contract from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE). The Palmer Fire was reported at 1:33 p.m. PDT Saturday and later that afternoon the Very Large Air Tanker was dispatched from McClellan Air Field near Sacramento. According to FlightAware it cruised south at over 600 mph at times before dropping on the fire about an hour later, then reloaded at McClellan and completed a second sortie, dropping almost 19,000 gallons again, splitting the load into two drops.

As of Sunday morning evacuations affecting about 100 homes and 450 residents were still in effect for the fire which has burned 3,300 acres about two miles south of Calimesa. CAL FIRE is in Unified Command with Redlands Fire Department, Beaumont Police Department, Riverside County Sheriff’s Department and San Bernardino Sheriff’s Office.

The working theory is the fire was caused by fireworks near Fisherman’s Retreat mobile home resort according to CAL FIRE.

On August 31 and September 1 the 747 completed at least three sorties to the Ponderosa fire near Manton, California which was the first time the aircraft had dropped on a wildfire in the United States since the retardant delivery system was removed from Evergreen’s 747-100 and reinstalled into a 747-400 operated by Global SuperTanker. In 2016 and earlier in 2017 it was used on fires in Israel and Chile.