Wildfire news, October 23, 2008

New Jersey: Wharton State Forest fire

The 1,800-acre Salders Ditch fire which began Tuesday afternoon in the Wharton State Forest southeast of Philadelphia is proving to be rather difficult to put out. Yesterday strong winds caused it to jump across a major highway, Route 206. One of the firefighters was quoted as saying the “rugged” terrain was one of their challenges. The fire is 50% contained.

Two injuries have been reported. On Tuesday, a police officer was struck by a vehicle as he directed traffic and a firefighter was hospitalized briefly after complaining of chest pains.

California: Santa Ana winds… again


The Sepulveda fire near the 405 freeway in Los Angeles

The Santa Ana winds are back and are expected to blow until Saturday. A red flag warning is in effect for some areas until Friday night.


Early this morning a 150-acre 100-acre fire, named Sepulveda fire, caused the 405 freeway in Los Angeles to be closed for a few hours during rush hour. Before sunrise at least eight night-flying helicopters washed the fire off the hill.


A night-flying helicopter makes a drop on the Sepulveda fire.

According to Vertical, a publication about helicopters:

The nighttime helicopter fire fight saved numerous homes and allowed ground resources to contain the Sepulveda Incident to 100+ acres with no injuries reported or structures lost. The Los Angeles City Fire Department sent four Bell 412 helicopters and one Bell 206L for command and control, while the Los Angeles County Fire Department responded with three Sikorsky S-70 Firehawks and two Bell 412s to assist in the nighttime battle.


In addition to the 17 agency owned helicopters of the Los Angeles City and County Fire Departments, County Fire has two CL-415 SuperScoopers from the Province of Quebec in Canada, and one Erickson S-64 Helitanker on contract. City Fire also has one Erickson S-64 Helitanker on contract to assist in combating the devastating wind driven Fall fires common this time of year in Southern California.


At least one Sikorsky Sky Crane helicopter also worked the fire after sunrise.


California: Chalk fire

This fire south of Big Sur has now burned 16,094 acres and is 89% contained. The Coast Highway, Highway 1, has been closed occasionally due to rolling rocks. Big Sur Kate has some great nightime pictures of the fire reflected in the ocean.

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