Video of MAFFS 4 dropping on the Papoose Fire

The video shows MAFFS 4, a C-130 from from Channel Islands Air National Guard, dropping on the Papoose Fire, part of the West Fork Complex of fires in Colorado, June 24, 2013.

The next video has a surreal view of the shadow of MAFFS 4 dropping. A screen capture of that scene is below, followed by the video.

MAFFS 4 drops on Papoose Fire, June 25, 2013
MAFFS 4 drops on its own shadow, on the Papoose Fire, June 25, 2013




Thanks go out to Tristan

13 thoughts on “Video of MAFFS 4 dropping on the Papoose Fire”

  1. NICE video of the drop. One of my favorite anecdotes from a tanker pilot is during a ferry flight, using IFR (I follow roads) to move to a different tanker base, pilot intentionally places his shadow over the top of a car going down the highway, causing driver to wonder how it is that he’s in shade when there’s sun all around him in all directions. LOL

  2. Bless you all for getting those metal birds up there and slowing down this fire! We recognize the dangers and appreciate all you do to help save this part of our lives. Slowing it down to allow us to get in and get family treasures? Priceless!

    1. We so much appreciate all the efforts of all the firefighters in the air and on the ground helping protect our homes and memories. THANK YOU just does not seem to be enough!! No one has any room to criticize any efforts that any of you do in protecting structures. We pray that all of you will be safe and return to your families safe and sound.
      Thank you for all you have done to save all of the cabins in the S Lazy U Canyon and the Wilderness Youth Camp!! It looked like a Miracle when we were up there watching from the highway!!! Thank you Hot Shot Teams and county firefighters for all the work you did up there and are still taking care of it. I hope the rains come soon!!
      God Bless all of you!
      Colleen M.

  3. Air Tanker People,

    While I certainly appreciate the risk that pilots take to do their work, I fail to understand why it makes sense to lay indirect retardant line in a high elevation meadow. Fire would have a hard time working it’s way through that meadow on it’s own, and in many ways, it’s already a natural barrier to fire spread.

    So, with all that, would somebody here please, please tell me why this makes sense? Sure, it’s a great piece of video, yeah, but that’s not why the retardant was laid there, connected to the previous drop that’s all but red dust in an asbestos alpine meadow.

    So, why does this high-risk, high-cost use of this machine make sense to folks? Was there a TV crew in the valley below? That’s what I’m coming up with right now. The CNN effect. Gotta be.

      1. The meadow is not a natural barrier, and in a video you’re seeing a small part of the picture. Indirect line to straighten out retardant lines, take advantage of fire behavior and fuels, aid in burnouts, support other goals on the fires, and other reasons, are among a few of the possibilities for running a retardant line outside the fire.

        Direct application is less common than indirect. The ability of ground crews to access a given area may dictate that retardant is the better choice, as well as areas that don’t offer a ground crew a position of safety when cutting line. Better to treat the area. Pretreating an area, or pretreating outside sparse fuels to take advantage of changes in fire behavior and burn rate are also valid reasons.

        Without having been in the shoes of the IC or the air attack overhead, it’s very difficult to look at a small piece of the puzzle and pass judgement. That’s called micromanagement, and in lieu of the facts, is an unfortunate and inappropriate practice.

    1. No TV crew. The Papoose fire blew up late in the afternoon, note shadows, with high winds. Spot fires were popping up on the ridge line and had already crossed beyond the drop. They can be seen in the video. Fire had jumped the canyon to the right having traveled a quarter to a half mile. To suggest light fuels represent a fire break is ludicrous. They light off easily and spread rapidly. In light fuels you can make hay, pun intended, with light coverage levels making long retardant lines and, possibly, stop the advancing flame front. The drop itself was pretty innocuous with good exit to an open valley and reasonable visibility. The more challenging drops had been the previous day in the bottom of the canyon to the right doing structure protection then exiting through the canyon well below the ridge shown in the video.

    2. No TV Crew they are dropping retardent on the ridge between Hermit Lakes valley (70 homes) & S-Lazy-U valley (50) homes. You need to know where you are before you bitch!

    3. A “high elevation meadow”??

      Dude, if you are going to question the tactics of firefighters, you should definitely look up and learn what a meadow actually is.

      That grassy area (on the bench and on the slope below) is a previous burn scar and obviously capable of carrying fire.

    4. Based on the comment from Mr. or Ms. Johnyyootaw, we felt we needed to add another item to our commenting rules:

      5. Criticizing firefighting tactics, based on seeing a photo or a video, is ridiculous. If you have a serious question, in order to LEARN, ask it. But don’t say a firefighter or aviator 1,000 miles away screwed up, based on an image you saw.

      In the future, similar comments will be deleted, quickly. Trolls, hiding behind fake names, spouting crap in order to attract attention, should find something else to do.

  4. I don’t see anything wrong here. MAFFS is prefect for such a thing, Also,
    I’ve seen Alpine meadows torch into a stand of dead Lodgepole-with wind.
    Not, IMHO, a fire barrier…
    MAFFS is one of those tools in an almost empty toolbox..

  5. These pilots have the gratitude of many, many hearts. This is a narrow canyon with extremely steep walls and a fairly hard turn at it’s end. It cradles S Lazy U in the upper valley and Young Life’s Wilderness Ranch below. The east wall is dense with spruce, much of it dead or dying due to a decade-long beetle infestation. Just to the left of the ‘asbestos alpine meadow’ in the video, the narrow ridge is covered with more diseased trees, which also blanket the mountain side above Hermit Lakes. Many, many thanks to these pilots for their (high-risk, high-cost) effort to stop the progression of the fire and to protect what is so loved by so many!

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