Monday, November 20, 2017

Erickson Aircrane in action over wildfires (2011)

Enjoy this video from Earl Watters, taken with a Go Pro Helmet Cam in 2011.  You will see footage from inside an Erickson Air Crane as well as some footage from the ground. Allow just under nine minutes to watch the video.

Direct link to video from Earl Watters

Friday, November 17, 2017

Northern Bucks County PA Wildland Fire Crew - 2016 Highlights

Thanks again to my good friends at the B10 NJ Wildland Fire Page for their great fire videos of the week page! They update this page weekly (on Friday) with fire videos (wildland and structure) from the United States and around the world. I rely on their videos, they always have a few great wildland fire videos. I have frequently shared them here on my blog.

One of last week's videos from the B10 NJ Wildland Fire Page was the following video from the Northern Bucks County PA Wildland Fire Crew, highlights from their 2016 fire season. A point of geography is on order, northern Bucks County PA is within easy range of the Poconos in PA. I make this point because some of the images in this video are from the Sixteen Mile Fire that burned over 7,000 acres in the Poconos in late April, 2016. Evacuations were in place for a time, there were no injuries nor where any residences damaged. One of these images shows the vehicles used by the Smokey Bear Hotshots from New Mexico. The Smokey Bear Hotshots were deployed to the wildfire to help the local wildland firefighters. Hotshot crews are a national resources and when requested, they go where they are needed.

Enjoy this short highlight video from the Northern Bucks County PA Wildland Fire Crew. I post this with a heartfelt thank-you to all the local wildland firefighters who worked this wildfire. And a special thank-you to the Smokey Bear Hotshots for helping.

Direct link to video on Youtube

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

SEATs in the Great Plains (USA) in action

For the last few years, I have subscribed to AgAir Update, a monthly newsletter with news of Agricultural Aviation from around the world. I subscribed so that I can learn more about Ag Aviation and I have not been disappointed.  About three times a year AgAir Update has a section called "Air Fire and Forestry" with information about SEATs and an article or two on broader news of aerial wildland firefighting, this is among my favorite sections of AgAir Update.

There was a nice article in the June 2017 AgAir Update called "Apocalypse on the Plains,"  now available from this AgAir Update link. The author, Graham Lavender, writes of his experience being dispatched to wildfires from the Abilene Tanker Base in the early spring of 2017 at a time when extreme wildfire conditions were forecast. He writes that one SEAT dispatched to a wildfire had to abort because of drone activity. The first week of March saw Red Flag Warnings, with forecasts of an approaching cold front with high winds for March 6, 2017. I'll let Lavender explain what the SEATs faced:
By the time we arrived for work on the morning of March 6, the winds had already exceeded our limitations. Sustained winds over forty knots with gusts over fifty knots were common in the Abilene area, while farther north and nearer the front wind speeds were even higher. By early afternoon dispatch was reporting multiple new fire starts in the northern Panhandle. The acreage estimates for each fire grew at an alarming rate. Barriers, such as highways and railroads, were no defense against the 70 mph wind gusts. All firefighters could do was position in front of the fire and warn people to get out of the way. Multiple evacuation orders were issued and many communities looked like ghost towns as the flame front approached. The same conditions were occurring in Oklahoma and Kansas with the largest fire starting in western Oklahoma and crossing the state line into its neighbor to the north.
I hope that you take a few moments to read "Apocalypse on the Plains" about what the SEATs faced last March working wildfires in the southern Great Plains.

I did find a video on Youtube, shot in February 2017 taken from the cockpit of SEAT working the Prison Fire in Tulia, Texas. The video was uploaded by the Texas A&M Forest Service, the pilot is Jim Watson. Allow a little over seven minutes to watch the video.

Direct link to video

Monday, November 13, 2017

MAFFS in action over Oct 2017 northern California wildfires

Watch this video of MAFFS 4 and 6 from the 146th Air Wing of the California Air National Guard over the Central Complex Wildfires that burned in and near Santa Rosa in October 2017.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Thank-you Veterans!

On this day that we honor all Veterans, past and present, I want to thank all who have served in the Military or still are serving on active duty, or in the reserves for all that you do to serve your country and protect us at home. Your sacrifices and those of your families are not forgotten!

Friday, November 10, 2017

About being a USFS pilot from a female pilot

Circumstances prevent me from obtaining my private pilot's license nor do I fly as a Sports Pilot. Some of you know that I don't let my lack of having a private pilot's license prevent me from my interest in aviation. I am especially interested in female pilots, including but not limited to  the few female pilots who fly for the United States Forest Service and their various contractors, or who work in wildfire aviation in other capacities.

Within the first several months of writing this blog on aerial wildland firefighting, I had heard of Mary Verry who was then a Lead Plane Pilot for the US Forest Service. If you want to know about a little more about lead planes, see my February 11, 2011 article about lead planes.

I recently ran across a US Forest Service Video, "Taking Flight in the Forest Service." In this four-minute video you will hear Mary Verry explain how "everyone in aviation is in support of something bigger than themselves." She talks about flying for the US Forest Service, as well as some advice for those who are interested in flying.

At the time this video was made Mary has been a USFS pilot for just under 21 years and is currently the Fixed Wing Program Manager for the Pacific Northwest and Alaska. In her capacity as a Lead Plane Pilot she flies anywhere in the lower 48 states (the Continental United States) and Alaska.

Direct link to US Forest Service You Tube video

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Lockheed P2-V tanker in action (cockpit view) over Moses Lake WA (2016)

I shared a video from Bob Webb of a Lockheed P2-V tanker in action late last spring, May 5th to be precise. Here is another video from Bob Webb, this time shot from the cockpit of a P2-V tanker working the South Ward Fire near Moses Lake Washington in 2016. I love this video for the great footage, 12 minutes) shot from the cockpit, giving me a rare view from the cockpit of an air tanker flying a fire. Not the same as being there in person, but as close as I will ever get. Great footage!

As many of you may know, the 2017 wildfire season is the last season that Neptune Aviation's Lockheed P2-V tankers flew. The tankers were retired at the end of the season, see my October 2nd post. I understand that a couple of Neptune's P2-V Neptune's were brought out of retirement to help with the October 2017 northern California wildfires

Some of you may be interested in yet another of Bob's videos that Bill Gabbert shared on Fire Aviation in April 2017. I'd recommend watching that video as well.

Direct link to video from Bob Webb

Monday, November 06, 2017

NJ Forest Fire Service (Section A3) images from a training class

Section A3 of the New Jersey Forest Fire Service had a training class recently that took place at Andover-Aeroflex Airport in Andover (Sussex County) NJ. I thought that you might enjoy some photos that they took of scenes around the airport. As I understand it, Andover-Aeroflex is the base for air operations of Division A (northern New Jersey) of the New Jersey Forest Fire Service. I could not find a website for Andover-Aeroflex Airport, but I did find a website for the Andover Flight Academy, based at Andover-Aeroflex, they have a page with information about Andover-Aeroflex (12N) that may be found here. I have taken a couple of scenic flights over Andover-Aeroflex including one landing, and I have gone walking in the adjoining Kittatinny Valley State Park.

To view the photos, click on the line under "Section A# District Warden's Association" or you may go directly to their photo album (here).

Thanks to all the NJ Forest Fire Service wildland firefighters for keeping us in New Jersey safe from wildfires.

Friday, November 03, 2017

Footage of rappel operations from inside a helo

Here is eighteen minutes of footage (with audio) of rappel operations over a wildfire near Lake Wenatchee, WA in July 2016. I liked this footage because it afforded me an opportunity to see and hear heli-rappel operations from inside a helicopter. At least four wildland firefighters rappel down to the fire from the helo.

Direct link to video

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Footage of Tubbs Fire from firefighters perspective

Some awesome footage of the Tubbs Fire that recently burned near Santa Rosa California. This footage was shot by firefighters from Berkley California, and is courtesy of the Berkeley Fire Department. Allow about eleven minutes for the video.

Direct link to video from KTVU (courtesy of Berkeley Fire Department)