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

Airport used for refilling air tankers with retardant on Detwiler Fire ran out of fuel

retardant p2v Redding
Reloading a P2V with retardant at Redding, August 7, 2014.

Most of the large air tankers working on the Detwiler Fire at Mariposa, California are reloading with retardant at Castle Airport 25 miles west of the fire. When an air tanker needs fuel, they will often have it pumped onboard at the same time the retardant tanks are being refilled. And sometimes a pilot will prefer to work a fire with less than a full tank of fuel so they can carry more retardant. They will have to refuel more often, but the weight savings is very important.

On Wednesday, according to a spokesperson for CAL FIRE, the vendor at Castle Airport ran out of fuel, so air tankers needing more had to divert to Mather Airport southeast of Sacramento to get fuel, and then fly to Castle for retardant before returning to the fire. The spokesperson said that by Thursday the fuel shortage had been resolved.

Fire officials are establishing a retardant site for helicopters so that they can drop long term retardant on the fire rather than water, which is less effective. This was also done on the Whittier Fire, as we reported a week ago. Below is the video from that fire.

DC-10 sets company record for hauling retardant

The operator of the three DC-10 Very Large Air Carriers, 10 Tanker Air Carrier, announced today that they set a company record yesterday, July 18, when Tanker 911 flew 10 missions in less than six hours of flight time to deliver 108,000 gallons of retardant to the Detwiler fire. That’s 10,800 gallons per sortie.

It is our understanding that they were reloading at Castle Air Force Base 25 miles west of the fire. Another one of the company’s DC-10’s, T-912, was also working the fire.

DC-10 dropping Detwiler Fire
DC-10 dropping on the Detwiler Fire on the afternoon of July 18. Screenshot from KCRA video.