The U.S. Forest Service distributed these photos Thursday of air tanker 116 at Redding, California. Normally the aircraft is based at McClellan Air Field in Sacramento, but it ventured north for “aerial firefighter training”.
The agency did not specify if the lawn chairs in the shade are part of the regular equipment inventory on the aircraft.
Tuesday night ABC’s Nightline had a nine-minute story on smokejumpers that featured the crew at Redding, California.
Below is Nightline’s description of the video.
Mitch Hokanson, 39, peers out the window of the roaring aircraft. Down below, a thin smoke coil emerges from a patch of pine trees. It’s been a dramatic fire season in the West. Drought conditions mixed with a rash of lightning strikes have caused small fires to break out. Close to 8.9 million acres have been burned by wildfires so far in 2015 — well above last year’s 3 million acres during the same time period.
Inside the plane, nine men strapped with parachutes and gear are ready to leap out the open door. They are part of an elite, and rarely seen, group of wildfire fighters employed by the U.S. Forest Service. Their mission: to stop the flames before they spread.
While it might take days for other crews to reach remote fires, depending on the location, this team can be at the scene, battling a fire in 30 minutes. The pay is modest, conditions treacherous, and hours can be long. Meet the California Smokejumpers.
The Washington Department of Natural Resources is adding an eighth UH-1 Huey to their helicopter fleet. Their goal is to have six operational helicopters at any given time during the fire season. King5 has a video report.
It is interesting how the color scheme on the helicopters is similar to that of the Seattle Seahawks.
Reno-Stead air attack base prepares for fire season
KTVN has a story about how the BLM air attack base at Reno-Stead is getting ready for the wildfire season.
Wired writes about smokejumpers
Wired has a lengthy article about how smokejumpers and hand crews in Redding, California are training and preparing for the fire season.
We spent some time yesterday at the Redding Air Attack Base in California and shot photos of the aircraft and will be posting them over the next few days. Here are a few to get started. Click on the photos to see slightly larger versions.
All of the photos were taken by Bill Gabbert and are protected by copyright.