(Originally published at 8:52 a.m. PT, July 29, 2015)
This image of the Martin Mars dropping on a fire near Skutz Falls on Vancouver Island yesterday is a screen shot from a video by Jody Kerrone. We are unable to embed the video here, but you can see it on the Wildfire Today Facebook page.
The Martin Mars was preceded by a jet-powered lead plane, or Bird Dog as they are called in Canada.
The British Columbia Wildfire Service reports that the fire is 10 hectares (25 acres). Two helicopters were also working on the fire.
As far as we know, this is the second fire the Martin Mars has dropped on in the last couple of weeks.
— Louise Hartland (@CTVNewsLouise) July 29, 2015
(UPDATE at 1:46 p.m. PT, July 29, 2015)
Wednesday afternoon Coulson Flying Tankers released the following information about the mission:
“Last night the Mars made a total of six drops on the fire at Skutz Falls. The drops averaged 21,600 litres [5,706 gallons] per drop for a total of 130,000 litres [34,342 gallons] in approximately 1.5 hrs, beginning with the first scoop at 7:30 p.m.
The turn times averaged 15 minutes per drop which was excellent with some 8 minutes drop cycles. As there were other aircraft working on the fire we had to allow them the time to get clear prior to each drop. It was an example of great teamwork, working in tandem with the other aircraft.
The current fuel load allows the Mars to stay airborne for approximately 6 hours prior to refueling. With this much fuel on board at the beginning of the scooping cycles we have to scoop a few smaller loads until we burn enough fuel to get up to maximum load capacity.
Every aircraft is the same with regard to maximum fuel load. All aircraft have to balance the amount of fuel on board and take into account the outside air temperature as well as working altitude and then factor in the load capabilities. However for the most part smaller aircraft carry only enough fuel for a maximum of 3 hours.”