Friday, August 29, 2014

Happy Camp Complex Fire (CA) -- Temporary Helibase (Aug. 21, 2014)

direct link to NewsWatch12 video on youtube

This video shows a temporary helibase that was set up at the Illinois Valley Airport in support of the Happy Camp Fire on or about August 20, 2014. I don't know if the helibase is still operating. I do know that as I write this that the Happy Camp Complex  (started on August 12 by lighting), burning in Klamath National Forest (CA) has burned 44,549 acres with only 20 percent containment. Evacuations are in place, see Bill Gabbert's article that he wrote earlier today with information about the evacuations along with some maps.

The video that I embedded above interested me because I got to see some of the activities on the base, the images of all the helos from type 1 to type 3, and the temporary control tower. More importantly, the video speaks to what I consider an important safety issue, the fleet of helos was grounded the morning the video was shot (I believe on Thursday Aug. 21) because of a smoke layer over the Happy Camp Fire. The smoke layer, caused by an inversion, had the effect of grounded the helos because it wasn't safe to fly. I wrote about inversions in an article on January 12, 2010 (includes link to other articles in a series I wrote on Flying Fires: Fog, Smoke, and VFR or IFR)

Being somewhat geeky, I was wondering what kind of information I might be able dig up about smoke conditions over the Happy Camp Complex Fires in Klamath National Forest. I came across the California Smoke Information Blog thanks to some information posted on Inciweb's Happy Complex page (accessed on 8/29/14 about 4:45 PM). I was able to find a Smoke impact summary for the Klamath National Forest uploaded on August 21st. They also shared a Happy Camp Smoke Video (8/21/14) that I am embedding below:

The most recent smoke impact summary (August 29, 2014)  from the California Smoke Information Blog is posted here. These reports go into smoke and weather conditions at Klamath.  I'll let those of you who are interested read the reports that I have linked to here. Interesting stuff in the reports.

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