Air tankers at Durango

Above: Air tankers 101 and 103 at Durango, CO May 28, 2018. Photo by Dave Herdman.

Dave Herdman took these photos of the air tankers that were working out of Durango, Colorado May 28 during the Horse Park Fire. Thanks Dave!

And speaking of the Horse Park Fire, the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management have released more details about the near miss that occurred on the fire May 27 in a remote area of Southwest Colorado. The report disclosed that in addition to the two firefighters that had to abandon a stuck truck, a lookout in another location also fled on foot and ignited an escape fire at a potential fire shelter deployment site as the fire approached. According to the information released there were no injuries.

air tanker durango
Air tankers 161 at Durango, CO May 28, 2018. Photo by Dave Herdman.
air tanker durango
Air tankers 101 at Durango, CO May 28, 2018. Photo by Dave Herdman.
air tanker durango
Air tankers 162 and 103 at Durango, CO May 28, 2018. Photo by Dave Herdman.

The four aircraft working on this fire represented 30 percent of the large air tankers that are on USFS exclusive use contracts this year.

Excellent photo of MD-87 dropping on the Beaver Fire

Above: An MD-87, probably Tanker 103, drops on the Beaver Fire west of Wind Cave National Park September 13, 2017. Photo by Herb Ryan used with permission.

(Originally published at 10:46 a.m. MDT September 14, 2017)

Herb Ryan of the Custer Free Press gave us permission to use these excellent photos he took September 13 at the Beaver Fire which is burning west of Wind Cave National Park in southwest South Dakota.

(More information about the Beaver Fire and the nearby Rankin Fire.)

The photo above is spectacular. It is a close-up of one of the most recently converted air tankers, an MD-87, dropping on the fire.

This is how he described getting the shot:

I was waiting for this and it broke out [of the] heavy smoke and this is the one full image I shot. Was on the back side of the fire with a Canon 7D and a 70-200 f2.8 on the camera cranked all the way down to 70mm.

The photo below of a National Guard Blackhawk helicopter on the Beaver Fire is also courtesy of Mr. Ryan.

Aircraft over the fires at Wind Cave National Park

Above: N137BH, a Sikorsky 70A or “Firehawk”, flies to refill its water bucket after dropping on the Rankin Fire September 13, 2017. Photo by Bill Gabbert.

(Originally published at 12:08 a.m. MDT September 14, 2017)

A handful of aircraft were working to fires in the southern Black Hills of South Dakota on Wednesday, two MD-87 air tankers, and two helicopters, a Bell 407 and a Sikorsky 70A “Firehawk”.

The Rankin Fire in Wind Cave National Park has burned about 1,192 acres while the Beaver Fire just outside the park on the Black Hills National Forest covered approximately 140 acres just a few hours after it was reported

(Click on a photo below to see larger versions. The caption is at the top.)


For more information about the Rankin Fire, visit Wildfire Today.

Tanker 103 departing Missoula

At least a couple of Erickson Aero Tankers’ MD-87’s have been taking to the skies again after a long hiatus. Terry Cook took this photo yesterday June 16 as Tanker 103 was departing Missoula on the way to a fire.

You can see the external tank, or pod, that was installed below the retardant tank doors, lowering the release point by 46 inches to mitigate the problem of retardant being ingested into the engines.

July 13 we posted a video of T-105, another Erickson MD-87, dropping on the Whittier Fire.

Thanks Terry!