Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Columbia AAB Tanker Ops on Detwiler Fire

I found a nice short video on tanker operations at the Columbia Air Attack Base (CA), while CAL FIRE Tankers 82 and 83 were working the Detwiler Fire in Mariposa County - 45,724 acres, 8 structures destroyed, evacuations in place, 7% containment as of July 19, 2017 at 12:30 PM EDT. For those of you who are interested in further coverage of the Detwiler Fire, Bill Gabbert of Wildfire Today has been covering the fire in this July 19th post.

I had been reading about this wildfire, but my interest was peaked when I came across this July 17th article with video by Giuseppe Ricapito of the Union Democrat. The video was by Maggie Beck with audio by Giuseppe Ricapito. I always enjoy watching and learning more about tanker operations at air attack bases. I hope that you take the time to read the article because there is some information in the article that is not in the video (embedded below).

Ricapito talks about the number of drops made on Monday, July 17th along with some information about flying to the fire (Union Democrat, July 17 2017, Giuseppe Ricapito)
By about 6:45 p.m. on Monday, Air Tankers 82, 83 and 88 (which is stationed out of Grass Valley) had performed 35 retardant drops near the fire site in Mariposa and Jesus Maria Road in Mokelumne Hill. The operations had begun at around 8:30 a.m. Monday, with helicopters deployed to the area not expected to return until evening. The helicopters were not required to return for a refilling of material or fuel, Podesta said, since they could access water at Lake McClure, about two miles from the blaze.  
With around 30 nautical miles to the drop zone, each of the planes has a turnaround time to Columbia Air Attack Base for a fire retardant refilling every 20 to 25 minutes. Every four to five drops, the aircraft would return to the Columbia Air Attack Base for a longer refueling by a mobile Shell jet fuel truck that would pull up alongside the plane on the runway.  
While in the Mariposa area, the air tankers fly at a designated elevation and flight path, dropping the liquid retardant ahead of the movement of the fire. 

Direct link to Union Democrat You Tube video

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