Friday, December 30, 2016

Air Tankers and Helos fighting wildfires: private citizen's perspective

Wildland firefighters whether in the air or on the ground do what they do to keep us safe. As you no doubt know, wildfires often occur close to or within the sight line of people's residences. Here are a couple of videos of aerial firefighting shot by private citizens from their property.

The first video was shot in August 2011 of aerial operations over the Warm Springs Fire in Wyoming. I am struck by the commentary of the videographer as she watched the aircraft (two of Neptune's P2-V tankers (10 and 44), a lead plane, and a helo with a bucket working the wildfire near her home. As I was watching the video, I sensed her gratitude. And at the end of the video she expresses her gratitude to the wildland firefighters in the air and on the ground who fought the wildfire. No homes were lost. Read the about this video comments here and click on show more. She thanks the local firefighters from Dubois Wyoming as well as all the non-local ground crews for their work in saving homes. Allow about six minutes to watch the video

Direct link to video

The second video was probably shot early on during the 2013 Rim Fire in California. Much of the video was shot by a homeowner from his roof. At the time the video was shot the Rim Fire had burned about 125,000 acres and was at 5% containment.  The Rim Fire ultimately burned over 257,000 acres in Stanislaus National Forest and Yosemite National Park and was fully contained in mid to late October 2013. I caution readers that you will some profanity early in the video and again towards the end, what I take to be an expression of awe as they watch the DC-10 tanker working the fire.

Direct link to video

I made several posts on the subject of the Rim Fire which you may access here (with the most recent post on the top).

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Air Tankers on display at Avalon, Australia (2015)

Continuing to share some videos of Air Tankers during this holiday week. Here is a six minute video from the 2015 Avalon Australia Airshow. Among the aircraft you will see  are Coulson's Lockheed 130Q Hercules, Tanker 131,  (N130FF); and Conair's RJ-85 Tanker, Tanker 162), (N355AC).

Direct link to video

Monday, December 26, 2016

Air Tankers working wildfire in Canada (2015 season)

I am always on the prowl for interesting videos to embed and share with you, especially of Air Tankers and Helicopters working wildfires.

In the video that I am embedding below among the aircraft that you will see are: Lockheed L-188 Electra (Air Spray), Twin Commander 690 Birddog (Air Spray), Cessna Caravan Birddog, Air Tractor 802 Amphibious SEAT (Conair), and an Aerospatiale AS 350 B-2 Helicopter (see the information from HD Aviation who uploaded the video, here (and click on show more under the video description) for more information on the video.

Direct link to video

Friday, December 23, 2016

Happy Holidays - The Shepard

I have a tradition of sharing The Shepard by Frederick Forsyth, read by Alan Maitland from CBC every year around the holidays. I wish all of you a Happy Holiday season and a Happy, Healthy, and Peaceful New Years. For some of you wildland firefighters who may be working or on call during this holiday season your service is appreciated, stay safe!

Direct link to video

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

GOES 13-15 (N,O,P) or earlier: visible, infrared, and water vapor imagery

Some of you may recall that on December 14th I wrote a little about GOES 13-15 (GOES N,O,P) series. At the time I am writing this, GOES-13 is currently operating as GOES East at 75 degrees west longitude and GOES-15 is currently operating as GOES West at 135 degrees west longitude. GOES-14 is in on orbit storage at 105 degrees west longitude.

I have been spending some time prowling NOAA and NASA websites and Youtube to look for some videos to share with you of visible, infrared and water vapor from GOES. Before I do so, I found another good NOAA website showing current imagery from GOES East and GOES west. The website is satellite Images from the NWS. I like this website. On the right you will see these current images: visible, infrared, and water vapor. Clicking on the image takes that image to the center of the webpage where you will a short description of how to read the imagery, that is what the different colors mean. You also have the option of seeing a single image or a loop. If you are so inclined, you might want to spend a little time on that website before looking at the videos.

The NASA Earth Sciences Office has a webpage with current interactive GOES imagery, if you go to their page of current infrared imagery for GOES East, you will see a labeled scale describing the color imagery (the same scale is on the page for GOES West).

My intention and hope here is to embed one video each of visible, infrared, and water vapor imagery from GOES 13-15 or their predecessors. In order to try to keep things simple, I have tried to steer away from the many videos I found combining visible and infrared imagery. 

GOES East (GOES-12) visible imagery of Hurricane Katrina (uploaded by NOAA Satellites) making landfall on the gulf coast on August 29, 2005.

GOES-13 infrared imagery of the beginnings of Hurricane Patricia in the Pacific in late October 2015. The video is uploaded by the CIMSS Satellite Blog from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Space Science and Engineering Center.  There are date and time stamps at the bottom of the video (you might have to be in full screen mode) along with information about the satellite. There is also a date and time stamp in the upper left.

GOES East water vapor imagery over Eastern US for the month of January 2016 in a loop of about 2 minutes, uploaded by NOAA Geostationary Satellites. At the bottom of the video (you might have to be in full screen mode) you will see the date and time stamp of the images along with information about the satellite.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Bushfire season in Australia - New South Wales

As we head into the holidays at the end of 2017 and then the New Year (just two weeks away), I find myself thinking that it is summer in Australia and that means bush fire season. Perhaps because I have a couple of contacts in New South Wales in Australia, I was wondering what is going in New South Wales. The bush fire agency in New South Wales, NSW Rural Fire Service has a nice webpage chock full of good links with a map of bush fire activity at the top of their entry page. The NSW Rural Fire Service has a nice Facebook page where they post videos, photos, and of course, information about bush fires. For those of you who prefer Twitter, the NSW Rural Fire Service Twitter page may be found here.

I knew from following Bill Gabbert's Fire Aviation that one of 10 Tanker Carrier's DC-10's (T-910 aka Southern Belle) and a Coulson C-130 (T-132, aka Thor) are under contract to New South Wales for their summer bush fire season. As I understand it, air tankers in Australia are considered a national resource and shared across Australian States as needed during bush fire season. Which probably explains why Coulson's T-132 was in Avalon, Victoria (Australia) when Coulson's T-131 (known as bomber 390) arrived in Avalon last week to start a contract in Victoria.

Fire Aviation posts on New South Wales (good videos and photos)

Here are two Youtube videos of bush fire activity in New South Wales, both taken in late 2016.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Intro to using hand tools to fight wildfires in Tennessee

On a day when I am feeling slightly under the weather while at the same time looking for something interesting and relevant to post, I found this video (2009) from the Tennessee Division of Forestry on how hand tools are used by wildland firefighters to fight wildfires in Tennessee. While there may be some variation in how wildland firefighters fight wildfires, I think that the what you will learn in this video has applicability no matter where you are. You will learn about what the light weight flame retardant clothing and footgear that the wildland firefighters wear, hand tools, and strategies for safely fighting wildfires with hand tools, along with how wildland firefighters stay safe.

Tennessee has some steep slopes as do other parts of the U.S. on both coasts. You will learn a little about fighting wildfires on steep slopes

Perhaps I have shared this same video earlier on my blog, if so then I think it bears repeating.

Direct link to video from the Tennessee Division of Forestry

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

A little about GOES 13-15 (GOES N,O,P) series

I don’t know about you, but knowing that GOES-R/16 has been launched, is in geostationary orbit and soon to be ready for operational testing got me interested in what the GOES N,O,P (13-15) series of satellites do. I posted some information on the launch dates and status of GOES 13-15 on November 30th. To briefly review:

GOES-13 is currently operating as GOES East at 75 degrees West longitude
GOES-14 is currently located at 105 degrees west longitude. She is an on-orbit spare.
GOES-15 is currently operating as GOES West at 135 degrees west longitude.

I spent some time doing research on the internet and found some pages from NOAA and NASA that are listed as no longer being updated and are “archived” with perhaps outdate links. I have tried to only link to NOAA pages on the GOES N,O,P series that either are not archived or appear to be updated on a regular basis.

The United States has two Geostationary Environmental Satellites that are active and supplying data, GOES East (currently GOES-13) and GOES West (currently GOES -15). The European Organisation for the Exploitation of meteorological Satellites (EUMETSTAT) have two geostationary satellites, one over the Indian Ocean the second over Western Africa. The Japan Meteorological Agency operates one geostationary satellite over the Western Pacific. All in all five geostationary satellites, and by international agreement, they assist all countries. (, accessed on December 8, 2016 )

Instruments on GOES N,O,P series - GOES 13-15 (I found most, if not all of the information on the instruments on the GOES N,O,P along with other background information in the GOES-N Mission Brochure (covers GOES N,O,P); accessed via GOES-N Status on December 8, 2016)

Imager: The imager supplies continuous data over five channels. Earth images produced by GOES East (GOES 13) and GOES West (GOES 15) include images of the surface, oceans, severe storm development, cloud cover, cloud temperature and height, surface temperature and water vapor. “It allows users to identify fog at night, distinguish between water and ice clouds during daytime hours, detect hot spots (such as volcanoes and forest fires), locate a hurricane eye, and acquire measurements of ground and sea surface temperatures (GOES-N Mission Brochure (covers GOES N,O,P), p. 10; accessed via GOES-N Status on December 8, 2016).  

Operational Meteorologists from the National Weather Service and elsewhere are heavy users of this image data. You have probably seen images from either GOES East or GOES West on weather broadcasts.

GOES East and GOES West produce three different types of images: visible light, infrared and water vapor. The National Weather Service’s JetStream online weather education pages has a nice discussion of geostationary satellite images where you may learn a little about each type of image along with some sample images.

Combined visible and infrared imagery, colorized infrared imagery, and water vapor imagery may be accessed from NOAA Satellite and Information Service - imagery and data page. Note that other satellite imagery is also available on this page.

Sounder: The sounder is a separate piece of equipment on the GOES with limited sounding capabilities. The sounder provides temperature and moisture data at various levels in the atmosphere, somewhat like weather balloons, but not as detailed. Although this sounder data is not used directly by forecasters, it is important for input into computer-based weather prediction models. As I write this, the GOES East (GOES-13) sounder is not operational.

Space: There are three instruments on GOES 13-15 that provide data on space weather, including but not limited to solar weather. This data is eventually fed to NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center who in turns feeds information, advisories and warnings on space weather to local NWS Weather Forecast Offices (e.g. when flares from our sun might reach earth and possibly cause geomagnetic disturbances such as auroras, possible communication and electrical disruption.

I’d like to thank a couple of friends who are operational meteorologists at the National Weather Service for their help as I learned about GOES 13-15. This article is possible because of your e-mails and telephone conversations. Thank-you!

Over the next few months, I will be keeping an eye out for interesting images and other data from GOES East and GOES West as well as following the operational testing, as I can, of GOES-R/16. As appropriate, write more articles. 

Monday, December 12, 2016

A little about Los Padres Engine 47 2016 Fire Season

As my regular readers know, I love watching various crew video's highlighting their wildfire season. Just today, and thanks (again) to my friends at NJFFS Section B-10 Fire Video Page, I was introduced to Engine 47 from Los Padres in the form of their video highlighting their 2016 fire season.

I know enough to know that Engines and their crew do important work in fighting wildland fires. And I know that the crew of Engine 47 from Los Padres do  important work in Los Padres (Los Padres National Forest in California).

I love watching the shots of airtankers and helos working wildfires, a shot of one of the DC-10 tankers on a ramp, the crew having fun, crew taking a well deserved rest, some nice sunset shots, smoke plume shots, shots from camp, shots of the crew, and of course shots from the fire line.

Direct link to video

Thank-you crew of Engine 47. Thanks for keeping us safe, stay safe. If you get some time off this winter, enjoy the time off with your friends and families.

Friday, December 09, 2016

Eastern New York 2016 Wildfire Season

Some of you may recall that I was following the Sam's Point Fire that ultimately burned 2,028 acres in Ulster County, NY before being contained on April 29th. I wrote about this wildfire in posts on April 26, April 27th, April 28th, and May 2nd.

Just today I ran across a nice video posted by NYFFT1 with images and videos from their 2016 wildfire season, including images from the Sam's Point Fire, and some prescribed burns in the Albany NY Pine Bush Preserve, and the Sherwood Wildfire

Nice work NYFFT1, looking forward to more videos from you.

Direct link to video

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

December 7, 1941 - A day that will live in infamy

It was a nice day for flying and general aviation pilots were out early on a Sunday morning to get some flying in before the winds kicked in later in the day. The date was December 7, 1941. The place was Oahu Island, Hawaii. The planes were Piper Cubs, and Aeronca aircraft.

Pilots flying aircraft such as Piper Cubs and Aeroncas were among the first to be killed when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on Sunday, December 7th. Two soldiers -- Sgt. Henry J. Blackwell and Cpl. Clyde C Brown, who had recently learned to fly from Robert Tyce had rented two Piper Cubs and with one passenger, Sgt Warren D. Rassmussen, prepared for a sight seeing trip. Blackwell and Brown were a part of the Civilian Civilian Flight Training Program to teach college students how to fly. Brown and Blackwell were hoping that there time in the CFTP would mean that they could be military aviators. Tyce along with his wife Edna, were there to watch Robert's former students take off, they never made it back. Japanese fighters shot down the two Cubs. Meanwhile, Robert Tyce was fatally wounded when he was hit in the head by straffing from a Japanese fighter.

Other pilots of general aviation aircraft that morning were more lucky, they encountered Japanese fighters and survived. As did the pilot, crew, and passengers of a Pan American Clipper. The pilot heard the attack on his radio and diverted to another airport.

So on this, the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, I want to pause and remember Blackwell, Brown, and Tyce who died that morning. I want to remember the 68 civilians who died.

All in all, 2,403 Americans died in Pearl Harbor that day. I will always remember.

For more information:

Civilian Pilots Under Fire at Pearl Harbor (AOPA, December 7, 2016), by Jim Moore, accessed on December 7, 2016 from Note I am not sure how long this particular link will work.

First Planes Down at Pearl, Aviation History Magazine by Stephen Harding (November 4, 2013), accessed on December 7, 2016 from

Monday, December 05, 2016

Chimney2Fire (Gaitlinburg TN) - December 5th update

Footage from the air and on the ground of damage caused by the Chimney2Fire, shot on November 29 by 1st Lt. Michael Donovan of the Tennessee National Guard.

Direct link to video

The latest information on the Chimney2Fire, 14 dead (see this December 4th joint news release from Sevier County, City of Gaitlinburg, Tennessee Emergency Mangement, and the Great Smoky Mountain National Park for more information) and over 700 structures confirmed to be lost. The tally of destroyed and damaged structures is 1,684. The wildfire has burned 17,006 acres and is at 42 percent containment. The acreage of the Chimney2Fire was reduced to account for the nearby Cobbly Knob Fires that has burned 803 acres and is at 53 percent containment.

My thoughts and prayers are with all those who lost loved ones from these wildfires and with all those who lost their homes.

Friday, December 02, 2016

Chimney2Fire (TN) - some info and reflections

I have never been to the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee and North Carolina, I am hoping that one day in the not to distant future that I will get a chance to visit this special place. It is somewhat hard hard to explain how I grew to love and feel an attachment for the Smokies. Over 20 years ago I had done some reading and research on the Smokies for a project that I was involved with at the time. Perhaps it is time for me to revisit those books and my notes from that project.

Any wildfire that takes lives and leaves destroys residences and other buildings is sad. Like many of you, I have been hearing about the wildfire known as the Chimney2fire on various news outlets. I knew that I had to write something about the Chimney2fire because the place is special to me. 

The Chimney2fire was first reported on November 23rd in a remote section of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This area has steep terrain with vertical cliffs that challenged wildland firefighting efforts. As some of you know, this region has seen severe drought conditions for awhile now, and these drought conditions coupled with high winds resulted in rapid growth of this fire on November 27th. The fire has burned 17,859 acres to date and there is no containment.

The city of Gatlinburg Tennessee lies in the middle of this wildland fire perimeter. As I write this, there are 7 deaths from the wildfire. Seven hundred structures are confirmed to be loss. There are reports of missing persons in the Gatlinburg area and environs and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has established a hotline (see this news report for more information) to investigate reports of missing persons. Evacuations remain in place for Gatlinburg.

I just read the December 1st morning report from the Southern Area Coordination Center (Morning Reports are updated daily during fire season). As of December 1st there were crews, wildfire suppression modules from: Alaska, South Dakota, Utah.Montana, California, Oregon, Arizona (some States sending multiple crews). There are a lot of aviation resources available in the southern region, including air attack platforms, aerial supervision modules, type 1 air tankers (T-40, T-10, T-131, T-162), two Scoopers (S-262, S-263), 8 SEATS, and a large number of helicopters of various sizes. There are a total of 18 uncontained large wildfires in the southern region according to the December 1st morning report that have burned 143, 973 acres. So I am certain that some of these aviation resources are supporting other wildfires in the south. However, some of these aviation resources are working the Chimney2fire.

As for rainfall, yes there was rain that fell in the area of the Chimney2fire earlier this week, and this rainfall did help in suppression efforts. But per a December 1st news release on the Chimney2fire :
Although Sevier County received significant amounts of moisture yesterday, more will be needed. “We had really good rain, but not enough to make up the deficit. Don’t let this rain give you a false sense of security.” Michael Proud, Incident Meteorologist, warned. Warmer weather, wind and decreased humidity will increase fire activity during the peak of the day. “The fire is not out, it is just knocked down.” Mark Jamieson, Operations Section Chief, stated
My thoughts and prayers are with the citizens of Gaitlinbug and environs. I’d like to thank all the wildland firefighters from Tennessee and adjoining states as well as those from across the country who are working this wildfires. Stay safe.

Some of you may want to read more about the efforts being made to fight the Chimney2fire. Bill Gabbert of Wildfire Today  has been doing a very good job reporting on this fire, and you may access Bill's articles through this link which will lead you to articles tagged with Chimney2fire.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

GOES-R is now GOES-16 and a little about GOES 13 to 15

GOES-R, the first of the latest next generation of NOAA's Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES) achieved geostationary orbit on November 29th at approximately 22,000 miles above the earth. More information may be found in the November 30th article on a GOES-R launch blog from NOAA's Satellite and Information Service. You may find my earlier articles on GOES R here (with links).

I don't know about you, but I have been wondering about the history of GOES and thanks to a reminder from one of my friends at a National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office, I found a NOAA webpage with a brief history of GOES.

Each GOES is assigned a letter at launch and once it achieved geostationary orbit it is assigned a number. GOES-16 (aka GOES-R) is the first of what I believe is the sixth generation of GOES. GOES 1 through 12 (representing the first four generations of GOES) have been decommissioned. 

The fifth generation of GOES is GOES N to P, or GOES 13 to 15. For more on the history of GOES, including a brief description of each generation of GOES and a list of their launch dates and decommission dates, see this NOAA webpage on a brief history of GOES. NOAA has a nice FAQ page on GOES, discussing GOES satellites in general as well as GOES-R (GOES-16) that may be found here. If you go to the brief history of GOES and click on "Earth NOW from GOES" you will see images from GOES East and GOES West.

Back to GOES 13 to 15 (N-P).
  • GOES 13 (GOES N) was launched on May 24, 2006 and became operational on April 14, 2010. It is currently operating as GOES East at 75 degrees west longitude. 
  • GOES 14 (GOES O) was launched on June 27, 2009 and is currently located at 105 degrees west longitude in on-orbit storage. It serves as a back-up for either GOES East or GOES West. For example, when GOES 13 was out of service while some technical issues in early 2013 were being corrected, GOES 14 operated as GOES East. 
  • GOES 15 (GOES P) was launched on March 4, 2010, becoming operational on December 6, 2011. GOES 14 is currently operating as GOES West at 135 degrees west longitude. 
You might want to check out the GOES status page, where I found information on GOES 13 to 15.

Monday, November 28, 2016

New South Wales Australia November Bush Fires

It is summer down under in Australia, that means it is bush fire season. Here are a couple of videos showing some bush fire action.

In this short video you will see one of the DC-10 tankers from 10 Tanker, known as the "Southern Belle" making a drop on a bush fire.

Direct link to video

The next video is a little under eight minutes, it is aerial footage of the Londonderry Fire in New South Wales. Some of the footage is in black and white and some is in color. You will also some nice footage of a DC-10 tanker "Southern Belle" working the bush fire in support of the bush firefighters on the ground.

Direct link to video

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thank-you wildland firefighters

On a day when I am pausing to remember all that I am thankful for, I want to say a heartfelt thank-you to all wildland firefighters on the ground and in the air along with their support teams. Some of you are working wildfires today to keep us safe. Stay safe and thank-you.

Direct link to video

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

A little more about GOES-R

I am writing a quick follow-up to the article that I posted on November 21st about the launch of the next generation weather satellite currently known as GOES-R. I am sharing two videos about GOES-R (which will be renamed GOES 16)

The first video is a little over a minute long. This video highlights some of the new technology and instrumentation in GOES-R. Video credit: NASA Goddard Media Studio

direct link to video uploaded by NOAA Satellites on Youtube

The second video, also from NOAA Satellites, is almost three minutes long, going into a little more detail about the new technology and instrumentation found in GOES-R and how GOES-R will improve weather forecasting. Video Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center / Michael Starobin.

direct link to video by NOAA Satellites on Youtube

Monday, November 21, 2016

New Weather Satellite - GOES-R - Launched

I don't know about you, but I was real excited to see (and watch live via NASA TV on my computer) the launch of NOAA's newest weather satellite on November 19th. Here is an eight minute video
of the launch. The launch vehicle was an United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. Video credit: NASA

direct link to video from NASA

GOES-R (which will be renamed GOES-16) is the first of four "next generation" of weather satellites. GOES stands for Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite). As I understand it, GOES-R will transition to her geostationary orbit about 22,000 miles over the Earth in the next two weeks. Over the next several months engineers will be checking out her systems after which time she will go live. According to NOAA's November 19th article, GOES-R heads to orbit, will improve weather forecasting:

GOES-R is flying six new instruments, including the first operational lightning mapper in geostationary orbit. This new technology will enable scientists to observe lightning, an important indicator of where and when a storm is likely to intensify. Forecasters will use the mapper to hone in on storms that represent the biggest threat. Improved space weather sensors on GOES-R will monitor the sun and relay crucial information to forecasters so they can issue space weather alerts and warnings. Data from GOES-R will result in 34 new, or improved, meteorological, solar and space weather products.
Information about the launch, with photos and videos as well as links you may go to read about GOES-R science and mission may be found on a special GOES-R page. One of the many links on the GOES-R page is a listing (with links) of most of the new products on GOES-R. Post launch articles on GOES-R (soon to be GOES 16) may be found on this page from NOAA's Satellite and Information Service.

I close with two short and well done videos from NOAA Satellites describing how GOES-R will be used for weather forecasting. In the first video you will learn about some of the new instruments on GOES-R. Video credit: SciJinks

direct link to video

In the second video you will learn about how GOES-R will help NWS weather forecasters. Video credit: SciJinks.

direct link to video

Added on November 22, 2016: I share two more videos on November 22nd from NOAA Satellites where they discuss the new instrumentation and technology found in GOES-R. Video of launch edited to embed launch video from NASA.

Friday, November 18, 2016

How wildlife are affected by Boeteler-Nantahala Branch Fires (NC)

I was doing my daily check on the wildfires that are currently burning in the Southern United States (see my November 14th article for links you may use to find information about these wildfires), when I ran across a great short video shared by the folk who run the Boteler Nantahala Branch (NC) Facebook Page. I don't know about you, but I am always interested in how wildlife are affected by wildfires burning in or near their habitat. In this short video, you will hear Johnny Wills, a wildlife biologist for the Nantahala National Forest in North Carolina speak on how local wildlife are affected by the wildfires burning in the Nantahala National Forest. I certainly learned something.

Direct link to Facebook Post with video

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Boeteler Fire (NC) - Incident Meteorologists talking to Middle School students

In my wonderings to find the daily news on the wildfires in the Southern United States (see my November 14th article for informational links you may use) I went to the Facebook Page for the Boeteler and Nantahala Branch Fires (in Western North Carolina), I came across an eighteen video of the Terry Lebo, the Incident Meteorologist assigned to the Boeteler Fire discussing a weather balloon launch with Hayesville North Carolina Middle School Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics students.

I like this video because of the interaction between IMET Terry Lebo and the Middle school students. Seems to me that they are just the right age to be interested in the balloon launch and to learn more about meteorology. In addition, at least some of these students may live in areas affected by the wildfires. I am glad that IMET Lebo got a chance to meet with these students and it looked like they were thrilled to watch the balloon launch. I learned something and I hope that you do as well.

Note, after you hit the play button, you can stop the video, if you wish, by clicking on the image.

direct link to Facebook Post with video

Monday, November 14, 2016

2016 Fall Wildfire Season - Southeast U.S. (Nov. 14th)

Wildfires continue to burn in the Southeastern United States. Regular readers may recall that I posted an article about these wildfires on November 9th and November 11th. First and foremost, I want to thank all the wildland firefighters on the ground and in the air who are fighting these wildfires, resources from around the country continue to help local wildland firefighters to fight these wildfires.

There are a lot of wildfires to keep track of, and to that end I will post some links to those wildfires that have Inciweb incident pages. The Southern Area Coordination Center's (SACC) intelligence page  (in the intelligence section of predictive services) is a good place to start for information on wildfires currently burning. I check out their Morning Report that is updated daily when there are active wildfires burning in the South.  Don't forget to check out the SACC home page for some nice maps and links to other information. Another useful source of information is the Incident Management Situation Report (updated daily during wildfire season and less often at other times of the year) from the National Interagency Coordination Center.

I recently found a publicly available Facebook page for the Boteler and Nantahala Branch Fires (North Carolina), they have been providing updates for some of the wildfires that are currently burning in National Forests in North Carolina.

Wildfires with Inciweb incident pages (Accessed between 9 and 11 AM EST on November 14, 2016. What you see may be different depending on when you access these incident pages)

Mountain Creek Fire - Ozark-St. Francis National Forests; 442 acres, 50% containment

GEORGIA - Wildfires in Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest

Eastern Cherokee Complex - Eastern Cherokee Agency - 751 acres, 75% containment

National Forest in North Carolina

North Carolina Forest Service Lands
Note: I have transcribed the acreage and containment figures from the appropriate inciweb pages, any errors are mine. 

Friday, November 11, 2016

2016 fall wildfire season - Southeast U.S. (Nov 11th)

I wrote about the 2016 fall wildfire season in the Southeastern United States on November 9th, I continue today.

Accessed via kml file  on 11/11/16 from Active Fire Mapping Program: (fire data in Google Earth)
Wildfires continue to burn in the Southeastern United States. Yesterday, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory declared a state of emergency in western North Carolina, see this report from WCQS  for more information. A state of emergency was also declared yesterday in Tennessee which has 53 active wildfires that have burned from 6,000 to 8.00 acres, see this article from WATE 6 ABC for more information.

According to this morning’s (November 11, 2016) National Situation Report there are 31 uncontained large wildfires (100 acres or more) burning in the Southeastern U.S. Some of these wildfires are threatening structures and evacuations are in place for at least one wildfire. (obtained on November 11, 2016 from the National Interagency Coordination Center - Incident Management Situation Report).

I understand from reading the Southern Area Coordination Center’s (SACC) Morning Report for November 11th  that aerial resources are available to assist the wildland firefighters on the ground including but not necessarily limited to: 12 air attack platforms, 2 Aerial Supervision Modules (Bravo 6 and Bravo 33), 4 Type-1 air tankers (T-41 (day off?), T-10, T-131, and T-162), 2 “scoopers” (T-262 and T-263), 6 SEATs (T-801, T-806, T-813, T-819, T-842, and T-892), 11 Type-1 Helicopters, 5 type-2 helicopters, 18 type-3 helicopters. Some of these aircraft were committed to specific wildfires and others are listed as available.

Wildfire crews from outside the SACC are assisting SACC wildfire crews: California (including crews from Los Angeles, Hemet and Chula Vista), Connecticut, Idaho, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, and numerous federal agencies.  Crews from the following Native American Tribes are working wildfires in the south: Cherokee Nation, Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes, Fond du Lac Band of Lake Sup Chippewa. Grand Portage Band of Lake Sub Chippewa, Passamaquody Tribe, Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians, and the Tule River Indian Tribe (obtained on November 11, 2016 from the November 11th SACC Morning Report. There is a nice article from News Channel 9 on three "heavy airtankers based in Chattanooga Tennessee working the wildfires in the southeast.

Smoke from these fires is impacting Georgia, see Bill Gabbert’s November 10th article on Wildfire Today

Many, but not all, of the wildfires currently burning in the Southeastern U..S. have incident pages on Inciweb, the incident management system, click on select a State in the upper right and then click the go button to see a list of wildfires in the State you are interested in. In addition there are data filters for max age, status (active, inactive, all) and type.

For more information about the wildfires in Western North Carolina:
Bill Gabbert of Wildfire Today shared some photos from the Rough Ridge Fire in Georgia

Added on November 14th: Several (but not all) of the wildfires that are currently burning in the Southeastern United States have incident pages on Inciweb, please see my November 14th article for those links.

For my friends in western North Carolina and Tennessee, stay safe and please heed any evacuation orders. Thank-you to all the wildland firefighters in the air and on the ground, stay safe!

Note: Reports from the National Interagency Coordination Center and the Southern Area Coordination Center that I cited here change frequently during wildfire season. Depending on when you are accessing this article, the reports you access will be later than those I cited here. Links to the media reports may only be available for a limited amount of time, links were good on the day I wrote the article.

Article updated on November 11, 2016 at 7:35 PM and 8:35 PM EDT

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

2016 fall wildfire season - Southeast U.S.

Knowing that areas in the Southeastern United States have been rather dry for several weeks, I wanted to post something about the numerous wildfires in the Southeast.

I start off with this map that from Google Earth showing current large incidents (wildfires) on November 9, 2016.
Accessed via kml file from Active Fire Mapping Program: (fire data in Google Earth)

I wanted to say something about the size and containment information on some of these fires, knowing that I may not be able to easily correlate the above map with some basic fire statistics. To that end, I have compiled the acreage on some of large fires (as of November 8, 2016) from the Southern Area Coordination Center’s Morning Report for November 9, 2016, New Large ICS-209 Incidents on pp 1-3. I am, hopefully, including a listing of wildfires at or below 50 percent containment on the date of the Morning Briefing. Any errors in transcribing this data are mine. I don't have statistics for every fire on the map, and some of the fires listed below are not mapped. This was a useful exercise because it gave me an appreciation for the number of wildfires that have burned in the southeast this fall. Several wildfires, not listed below are either fully contained or are near being fully contained.


Virginia Raven Rock: incident VA-VAF-000255. started November 2, 2016. 2,453 acres at 25% containment. 1 commercial and 1 outbuilding have been destroyed.

North Carolina
  • Party Rock: incident NC-NCG-160031. started November 5, 2016, 320 acres at 15% containment.
  • Freebee Memorial: incident NC-NCF-160299. started November 5, 2016. at least 1,132 acres at 0% containment.
  • Tellico: incident NC-NCF-160280. started November 3, 2016. at least1,835 acres at 25% containment.
  • Maple Springs: incident NC-NCF-160295. started November 4, 2016. at least 3,500 acres at 9% containment.
  • Avey Branch: incident NC-NCF-160293. started November 4, 2016. at least 1,200 acres at 18% containment.
  • Boteler: incident NC-NCF-160247. started October 25, 3016. 1,713 acres at 30% containment.
  • Washington’s Creek: incident NC-ECA-000029. started November 7, 2016. 100 acres at 50% containment.
  • Knob: incident NC-NCF-160275. started November 3, 2016. 644 acres at 28% containment.

Tennessee Flippers Bend: incident TN-TNS-CD0016. started November 5, 2016. at least 350 acres at 50% containment.

Georgia Rough Ridge (c): incident GA-CHF-160052. started October 16, 2016. at least 6,407 acres at 11% containment.

Arkansas Mountain Creek: incident AR-OZF-000517. started November 2, 2016. Approximately 441 acres at 50% containment.


Some additional sources of information (links to media may expire after several days, all links live on the date I first posted this article):

  • Wildfire Today, November 9, 2016, Wildfire smoke in the southeast United States.
  • Wildfire Today, November 7 2016, Very dry autumn brings numerous wildfires to the southeast.
  • Post and Courier News on smoke plumes from wildfires in TN, NC, and VA.
  • WNCN on evacuations in North Carolina mountains.
  • WLOS on three airtankers working wildfires, information on wildfires in North Carolina mountains.
  • Monday, November 07, 2016

    Mad River Hotshots - 2016 Fire Season

    Continuing with video summaries of wildfire crew's 2016 wildfire season, here is a video from the Mad River Hotshots.

    Direct link to video from Mad River IHC

    Friday, November 04, 2016

    Inside Coulson's "Hawaii" Martin Mars

    I have been busy the last couple of days with some personal business and some computer maintenance. So I thought I'd take this opportunity to share this video that I recently found of a walking tour through Coulson's "Hawaii" Martin Mars. The video, shot be VMC Aviation Videos was shot at Sprout Lake in Vancover British Columbia on September 10, 2015. Enjoy!

    Wednesday, November 02, 2016

    Readings on Aviation -- Female pilots during World War II

    I don't quite recall exactly when I first learned that women both in the United States and Great Britain flew for the war effort. Perhaps it was from a television show or a chance newspaper article that I read many years ago. But whatever I knew about a special group of female aviatrixes, it was not very much.

    I recently shared a video of one of these aviators, a women who flew in Great Britain during World War II (see my October 28th post). In the course of my various readings on aviation over the last few years, I begun to learn a little more. I knew that a group of women pilots, known as Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPS), a paramilitary organization, transported military planes within the United States during the later part of World War II. Many of these planes were to fly overseas as a part of the war effort. For example, a plane would be built, tested if necessary and ready to fly. A WASP pilot would pick up the plane and fly it to a military base where it was assigned to a squadron for deployment over seas. See this wikipedia article for a little history of WASPs. I have done some reading about some of the women who served as WASPs, which I'll get to a little later. What impressed me is that these were a group of women who loved to fly and wanted to help their country. The service of the WASPs was not long, for those women who were in the first classes, their service was less than two years. The first class graduated in early 1943, WASPs were disbanded in December, 1944. While they freed up men for combat overseas, many were disappointed that they were not allowed to fly in combat missions.

    It was during the course of my reading about WASPs that I learned about the group of women pilots in Great Britain, who were a part of the Air Transport Auxiliary (wikipedia), who did similar service. At first they transported military planes within their country, but  towards the end of the war they may have been allowed to transport planes to the European Continent. Women started to fly for the ATA in early 1940. In November 1945, the last women flew as ATA pilots in order to free up jobs for the male pilots returning from combat duty.

    As I learned about these wonderful, skilled, and brave women who transported or ferried military planes during World War II, my respect and admiration for them increased. Many died. They were skilled pilots. They too were away from their families during their service. Some continued to fly after the War, and some did not. Women pilots had fewer options then men in those days. Things are better for women pilots these days, including the fact that women can join the military and fly. These early female aviatrixes,  helped to pave the way for a later generation of female aviatrixes.

    When I go for one of my scenic airplane rides, there is a mural of a WASP standing next to her plane. I think of them every time I go for an airplane ride. I am not a licensed pilot, and in all likelihood never will be. But when I read about their flying and that of the ATA pilots, they take me with them through their words.

    In May of 2016, the United States Congress passed legislation allowing WASPs to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery, For more information you might want to check out this Smithsonian Magazine article (May 23, 2016) and a  May 11, 2016 report from National Public Radio. After decades had passed where the WASPs failed to get military recognition for their service, they will receive the military honor of have their cremated remains buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

    For more information on the web

    Books or Kindle Singles I have read. This just touches the surface of what is available, I include this list for your information. I got Kindle editions of all these books, except where noted they are available in other formats.

    Monday, October 31, 2016

    New Jersey Forest Service Fire Crew at Rough Ridge Fire (GA)

    Thanks to my friends at the NJFFS AT Firefighters Association I now know that there is a wildland firefighting crew from the New Jersey Forest Fire Service deployed to the Rough Ridge Fire that is currently burning in the Cohutta Wilderness, Fanning County, Georgia. As you can see from the graphic, parts of Georgia are in an extreme drought. Please click on "more" under the graphic to read about the Rough Ridge Fire.

    Here is a report from WDEF/News12Now on the fire, according to WDEF/News12Now (and I confirmed this by looking at todays morning report (updated frequently during fire season) from the Southern Area Coordination Center), the fire has burned 1,200 acres. I have not yet been able to find a webpage for information on this fire, if I do, I'll up date this article. According to information I saw in the morning briefing (updated frequently during fire season) for October 28th from the Eastern Area Coordination Center this crew was deployed on October 22, 2016.

    Thank-you New Jersey Forest Service for helping out our friends in Georgia. Stay safe!

    Friday, October 28, 2016

    Female pilot who flew for Britain in WWII flies again

    I have done some reading about the women who flew for Great Britain and the United States, mostly transporting planes, during World War II. I ran across this video a few months ago and don't believe that I've shared it here with you. Great aviators doing service for their country.

    Wednesday, October 26, 2016

    Wyoming Hotshots - 2016 fire season

    Continuing with videos summarizing wildland firefighting crews 2016 fire season, here is a video showcasing the Wyoming Hotshots 2016 fire season. Thanks for all you did to keep us safe.

    Direct link to video from Alec Cannata on Youtube

    Monday, October 24, 2016

    Midewin Hotshots - 2016 fire season

    I have been remiss in not mentioning the Midewin Interagency Hotshot Crew before now. The Midewin Hotshots are an Interagency Hotshot Crew are the only Hotshot Crew in the eastern region. They are hosted by the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie in Wilmington, Illinois. Here is their 2016 crew video highlighting their 2016 fire season. I have a special fondness for this hotshot crew because they are from the eastern region. There are some nice shots of tankers and helos in the video. Enjoy!

    Glad you are safe, enjoy your off season. Thanks for all you do to keep us safe.

    Direct link to Youtube video from the Midewin Hotshots

    Friday, October 21, 2016

    Another look back at airtankers at Santa Barbara in 1987

    I have shared some of Brian Lockett's (of earlier. On Jan 30, 2013 I shared the first of a five part video he did of airtanker operations at Santa Barbara (CA) on October 3, 1987. Then on July 31, 2015 I shared two more of Brian's videos, one is part 5 of his October 4th series of videos of tanker operations at Santa Barbara and the second was shot on October 5th. 

    Today I am sharing part 2 of Brian Lockett's five-part series of videos of air tanker operations at Santa Barbara. I enjoy Brian's videos not only because he labels many of the tankers you will be seeing in the video, but also because he shows some commercial airliners. And at times, I hear some radio chatter in the background.

    Thanks to Brian Lockett for identifying the tankers in his videos. Including among the airtankers that you will see in this video are:

    • Fairchild 123 Provider T-123
    • Douglas C-54D Skymaster T-13
    • Lockheed P2V T-12 (Neptune Aviation)
    • Lockheed P2V T-11 (Neptune Aviation)
    • Lockheed P2V-7 T-7 (Aero Union)
    • PB4Y2 Privateer T-124
    • Douglas C-54 Skymaster T-16

    Direct Link to video from Brian Lockett on Youtube

    As I watched the video, I found myself thinking of how wonderful it is to see some historic airtankers in action. At the same time on a somewhat sadder note I found myself reflecting on the danger involved in flying airtankers. At least one of the airtankers that you will see in the video -- Neptune Aviation's Lockheed P2-V Tanker 11 was destroyed in a crash (June 3, 2012). The flying that airtanker and helicopter pilots do when flying wildfires is risky, and they do so to support the wildland firefighters on the ground. Many pilots and crew have died flying fires, your loss is not forgotten.

    Wednesday, October 19, 2016

    Geronimo Hotshots - 2016 wildfire season

    I have been sharing videos from my friends, the Geronimo Hotshots, for the last few years. I was thrilled to find this video with highlights of their 2016 wildfire season. This video is a trailer, if you will, from their 2016 highlights video that is still in production. I am looking forward to thier next video and will share it here. Thank-you Geronimo Hotshots for all you do to keep us safe. Thank-you for your videos that bring us into your world. Stay safe.

    Monday, October 17, 2016

    Thanks to wildland firefighters on the ground and in the air

    I was taking some down time just now watching an old tv show from the 1970s, Emergency, the episode (from season 3) depicted a (fictional) account of a wildfire in the Los Angeles area of southern California. As I was sitting there watching the show, with what may have been some actual footage of a southern California fire from the period.

    The show had a scene when three firefighters were surrounded by a fire after rescuing another firefighter who was trapped under a truck. They called for water drops and then made a safe space and dug in and waiting for help to come. In the manner of feel good TV, this had a happy ending. Water drops were made and the trapped firefighters were rescued.

    In real life there are not always happy endings. Sometimes firefighters die, sometimes civilians die, firefighters and civilians are injured,  houses are lost and businesses are lost. In time, structures can be rebuilt. In some cases people will heal from their injuries and resume their lives. But sometimes lives are changed. People injured in a wildire may face a long recovery and may not be able to go back to what they were doing before the wildfire. Loved ones die.

    I am reminded about how tankers and helos work a wildfire in the air to support wildland firefighters on the ground. It is dangerous work, that they do keep us safe.

    I want to pause and remember all wildland firefighters, in the air and on the ground. Thank-you for keeping us safe. Thank-you for your sacrifice. Thoughts and prayers for all who have died in the line of duty.

    This is one of my favorite tribute videos, and I have shared it at least once a few years back on this blog. I share it again in honor of all wildland firefighters. Thank-you

    Direct link to video on Youtube

    Friday, October 14, 2016

    IMET deployments - early fall 2016

    While wildfire activity may have eased up somewhat in some parts of the United States, wildfire season is still going on in California and other Western States. Regular readers may recall that I have posted some articles National Weather Service (NWS) Incident Meteorologists (IMETs), Meteorologists who are trained to be onsite at a wildfire providing weather forecasts for the incident.

    I was wondering about IMET deployment so I went to the USNWS IMET Facebook page to find out about recent IMET deployments going back to late September. I saw that an IMET from the NWS Sacramento, CA Weather Forecast Office was deployed to the Sobranes Fire on September 30th. I'll get back to the Sobranes Fire in a moment. On or about October 13, an IMET from the NWS Hanford, WA Weather Forecast Office was deployed to the Sacata Fire. The Sacata Fire started on Tuesday, October 11th near Trimmer, California in the Sierra National Forest (Fresno County). As I write this (October 14, 2016 at 2:15 EDT) the Sacata Fire has burned 1,700 acres and is at 35 percent containment.

    Back to the Sobranes Fire. There have been a total of 14 IMETs (as of September 30th) that have been deployed to the Sobranes Fire, while not at the top of the list for the number of IMETs deployed to a single fire, the Sobranes Fire is number 8 on the list as of September 30th. Number one on the list for total IMETs deployed to an incident is 29 for the 2011 Texas Fires. See this post on the USNWS IMET page for more information.

    I got interested in the Sobranes Fire and I see that according the latest update on the Sobranes Fire inciweb page that the fire was 100 percent contained on October 12, 2016 at 132,127 acres. The cause of the fire was an illegal campfire. Normally IMETs are deployed to a wildfire for two weeks. I have no idea of the IMET deployed on September 30th is still working the Sobranes Fire. I did some checking on the Sobranes Fire photo page and found a couple of videos that I think you might be interested in. Before I get to that, for those of you who are arriving here some months after the Sobranes Fire was contained, I never quite know how long the link to the Sobranes Fire will be active. So if the links here do not work, you will know why.

    One of the things that an IMET does on a frequent basis while working a wildfire is to make weather briefings for those working the fire. I found a video of IMET, Julia R, uploaded on September 30, 2016, Julia is giving a weather briefing for the Sobranes Fire. I learned a lot about the importance of incident specific weather forecasts and how weather plays a role in fire behavior. Forecasts such as this one provided by an IMET provide crucial information about the weather conditions and what wildland firefighters on the ground and in the air can expect. IMETs save lives!

    Finally, here is another video from an IMET and his IMET trainee on or about August 28th discussing the importance of the ballon launch they were doing one morning. You will learn about balloon launches and how data from a balloon launch over or near a wildfire can help forecast fire behavior so the wildland firefighters can be prepared to fight the wildfire in possibly changing weather conditions. IMETs save lives!

    Wednesday, October 12, 2016

    Tankers reloading at Redding Air Attack Base (2015)

    Time to stand by the fence and watch tankers reloading at Redding Air Attack Base in July 2015. Thanks to John Lord for the great video allowing us to watch along with him. Enjoy!

    Direct link to video from John Lord

    Monday, October 10, 2016

    CAL FIRE Super Huey - Helitack 106 in action

    I found this great 16 minute video today from W Colby showing a CAL FIRE Super Huey, Helitack 106, in action. The video was uploaded in August, 2015. There are some great close-up shots. Talk about up close and personal!

    Friday, October 07, 2016

    NOAA WP-3D Ms. Piggy flies through Hurricane Matthew's eyewall

    Join NOAA's WP-3D Orion -- #NOAA43 (aka Ms. Piggy) -- and her pilots and crew as they take a bumpy flight through the eyewall of Major Hurricane Matthew recently. Credit Capt. Tim Gallagher/NOAA for this shot, close-up view of flying through the eyewall. His video was shared on The NOAA Hurricane Hunters Facebook Page sometime late night on October 6th/7th. Thank-you Capt. Gallagher for taking us with you and your crew.

    Stay safe all in his path. Please evacuate if you are in a coastal area in his path.

    Wednesday, October 05, 2016

    Hurricane Hunters flying Major Hurricane Matthew -- Thank-you!!

    Direct link to video

    Obtained from at 2:24 PM on October 5, 2016
    This information is current at the time noted above, see for the latest advisories for Matthew
    Since I first wrote about Hurricane Hunters last year (NOAA and USAF 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron) I find myself thinking about all who pilot and crew Hurricane Hunters just as I always think about those who fly tankers and helicopters used to fight wildfires. Once I write about aircraft, I get involved. As both NOAA and the USAF 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron have been making daily or twice daily sorties into Hurricane Matthew (a category three hurricane as I write this), I want to pause and say "thank-you." Somehow saying thank-you seems wholly inadequate. You are flying hurricanes and penetrating the eyewall in order to provide data to the National Hurricane Center (NHC). The NHC in turn uses this data as the provide us with forecasts, discussions and advisories. All so that we can be as safe as we can, and to evacuate if need be.

    Last Friday, September 30th, Matthew was a category five hurricane which means that his top winds were in excess of 156 miles per hour (according to the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale). This meant the Hurricane Hunter flying reconnaissance last Friday was flying through winds in excess of 156 miles per hour as they were penetrating the eyewall. And they made a few penetrations. Not all Hurricanes are Cat 5, and Matthew is down to Cat 3 as I write this. Still . . .  Thank-you Hurricane Hunters for doing what you do to provide with the information so that we may evacuate if warranted. You fly Hurricanes to keep us safe. Thank-you.

    For those of you who might want a safe arm chair view of what it is like to fly into the eyewall of a major Hurricane, see the article that I wrote on October 28, 2015 where I embedded some footage shot from one of the Hurricane Hunters who flew Hurricane Patricia last fall. She was a Category 5 Hurricane as she made landfall in Mexico.

    You fly were no other airplanes can go. Thank-you.

    Stay safe everyone. Please heed any evacuation advisories.

    Monday, October 03, 2016

    Loma Fire - October 3rd

    The Loma Fire (Santa Clara County, California) has burned 4,474 acres as I write this, up from 4,313 acres burned on September 30th. It is at 81 percent containment; 12 residences and 16 other structures have been destroyed. Some mandatory evacuation orders remain in place with 81 structures threatened. The latest update from CAL FIRE (updated periodically while the fire is actively burning) may be found here.

    I have two more videos to share with you. The first video, uploaded to Youtube by High Flyer on September 30th, shows more air operations.

    Direct link to video

    The second video is a video thanking the wildland firefightiners, uploaded on September 30th. I always like seeing videos thanking firefighters. I know that the thanks expressed in this videos is heartfelt. Thank-you wildland firefighters on the ground and in the air. Stay safe as you continue to fight this wildfire. You rock!

    Direct link to video

    Friday, September 30, 2016

    Loma Fire (CA) Air Operations #2

    I wrote about the Loma Fire on September 28th where I shared a short video from a local news outlet of air operations over the fire. Today I will share two more videos showing air operations over the Loma Fire. But first, an update. As I write this, the Loma Fire has burned 4,313 acres in Santa Clara County, California. The fire is at 34 percent containment. Eight residences and nine outbuildings have been destroyed, an additional 325 buildings are threatened. Evacuation orders remain in place.  CAL FIRE has an incident page for the Loma Fire, the latest incident page (updated periodically while the fire is active) may be found here.

    Both of the videos that I am embedding below were uploaded by W Colby. Allow about 15 minutes to watch both videos.

    Direct link to video on Youtube

    Direct link to video on Youtube

    Wednesday, September 28, 2016

    Loma Fire (Santa Clara County, CA) - air operations

    I found a short but nice video of air tanker operations over the Loma Fire, which I'll get to in a minute. I read about the Loma Fire yesterday on Bill Gabbert's Blog, Wildfire Today in this article. Bill has shared some nice pictures of the Loma Fire and has a nice article which you may want to check out.

    I found CAL FIRE's incident page for the Loma Fire, the latest update available as I write this was at 6:30 AM PDT on September 28. According to CAL FIRE's Loma Fire incident page has burned 2,250 acres in Santa Clara County, CA and is at 10 percent containment. One residence and six outbuildings have been destroyed, mandatory evacuations are in place. The cause of the fire is not known at this time and is under investigation.

    The video that I am embedding below is from Sky7 HD, and I found it on the KRON4 News Facebook page (). The video is also available on the KRON4 News website on this page with videos from the Loma Fire, scroll down and you will see the video along with some other videos that you might want to check out. Back to the air operations video, you will see at least one DC-10 tanker making a drop, a DC-7 tanker, and a couple of S-2T tankers (including but not necessarily limited to T-85 and T74).

    The SFGate has a nice photo gallery of images from the Loma Fire that may be found here

    Friday, September 23, 2016

    Wildland Firefighter Fatalities (2016) - RIP

    The recent death of Ryan Osler (38) on September 21st when a water tender rolled over en route to the Canyon Fire on Vandenberg Airbase is a reminder that wildland firefighter, and any firefighting for that matter, is dangerous.

    There are always a number of wildland firefighter deaths each year in the United States and around the world and 2016 year to date is no exception. Always Remember, a site that "provides a permanent location to collect, organize, maintain, preserve, and share current and historical incidents in which wildland firefighters lost their lives, to remember our fallen firefighters, their contributions, and the lessons learned from their lives or in their passing (obtained from Always Remember on September 23, 2016)." I went to Always Remember just now to see who has died in 2016 (as of September 23, 2016). Always Remember maintains a list of wildland firefighters (by incident) who have died in the United States, with the latest on top, that may be found on the Always Remember Incident Page.

    Please join me in remembering each of these fallen wildland firefighters who died to keep us safe, prayers for their families, friends, colleagues, and all who love them. May you all Rest in Peace. Thank-you for your service.

    • Shawana Jones (22) died on February 26. 2016 on a small wildfire in the Santa Monica National Recreation Area.
    • Jacob O'Malley (27) and Will Hawkins (22) died on July 10, 2016 died when their BLM vehicle rolled while returning from wildfire patrol duty near Denlo Nevada.
    • Charles Waterbury (56) died on July 24, 2016 after suffering from a medical emergency while fighting a wildfire near Lyme New Hampshire.
    • Robert Reagan (35) died on July 26, 2016 when the Bull Dozer he was driving while working the Soberanes Fire (Monterey County, CA) rolled over.
    • Justin Beebe (26) died on August 13, 2016 died in tree felling accident while his Hotshot crew, the Lolo Interagency Hotshot Crew was working the Straberry Fire (Great Basin National Park in Nevada).
    • Ian Howard (36) died of unknown causes during the night of August 20-21, 2016. His engine crew was positioned to work a wildfire on the Mendocino National Forest (near the Paskenta Work Center).
    • Alan Swartz (25) and Jimmy Shelifoe (23) members of the Beartown (Michigan) Firefighter Crew died on August 27, 2016 when their crew transport vehicle was in a motor vehicle accident in Minnesota. The Beartown Firefighter Crew was on their way to the Box Canyon Fire in Utah.
    • Ryan Osler (38) of the Ventura County CA Fire Department died on September 21, 2016 when his water tender rolled over en route to the Canyon Fire on Vandenberg Airbase.