Friday, April 07, 2017

Spring 2017 wildfire season - SEAT contracts in New Jersey and Pennsylvannia

It is early spring in New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania and that means that the spring wildfire season is or will soon be upon us. Here in New Jersey SEATs in New Jersey Forest Fire Service Division B and Division C will go on contract on or about April 10th for a period of approximately five weeks, ending on or about May 15th. Dates are subject to change. As I write this on April 7th, much of New Jersey and adjoining areas have experienced three days of rainfall in the last week, rainfall of varying amounts. At least in my neck of the woods, the ground is somewhat saturated. But the ground can dry out quickly.

NJFFS Division B’s SEAT is an Air Tractor 802 (800 gallons). The SEAT that will be on contract in Division C is an Air Tractor 602 (600 gallons) from Downstown Aero. This will be Downstown’s  fiftieth year providing aerial fire fighting services in New Jersey.

April 10, 2017 Update: Downstown's AT-602 goes on contract April 10th. To show you how quickly things can change, there is enhanced fire danger in the southern part of NJ and eastern PA this afternoon and evening. I am not quite sure when the 802 in Division B goes on contract, when I get a date, I'll update this post.

April 26, 2017 Update: I am not quite sure when the 802 in Division B went on contract. I believe that she was on contract on or about April 17, 2017.

 obtained on April 7, 2017 from

Meanwhile in Pennsylvania, an Air Tractor 802 (800 gallons) is on contract until at least May 5th, working out of the Moshannon Wildfire Air Operations Center at the Mid-State Regional Airport. The AT-802 is joined by a Bell 206 Jet Ranger helicopter. The Centre Daily Times has a nice two-part article on the Pennsylvania spring wildfire season. In part one (April 3rd) you will read about some good background information about wildfire presentation and the like. The article also discusses the very important role of the volunteer fire companies who are often to first to respond to wildfires and how wildfires are fought on the ground with support from aerial resources. In part two (April 5th), you will read about the AT-802 on contract in PA, with a some great photos of the 802 that are a must see! In addition, you will read about how aerial (and ground) resources are deployed to the wildfire. I never know how long newspaper articles will be available, but I can say that accessed both articles on the date I posted this article (April 7th).

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