A Whole Lotta Flyin’ Goin’ On

Aerial firefighting companies from several states are working the Station Fire on the Angeles National Forest; the fire’s up to 160,000 acres this afternoon.

“We have been told by the Los Angeles County Fire Department that this is the worst fire in the history of that agency,” said Tracy Weaver with Erickson Air-Crane. The company’s got three cranes and 35 personnel on the fire.

Gregg Deacon flying one of Erickson’s Aircranes on the Station Fire 09/10/09. Photo ©2009 Kenny Chapman
According to Vertical Magazine, Helicopter Express in Atlanta, Georgia, has four helicopters in southern California, two of which are working the Station Fire. Scotty Runyan, special projects manager, said the Station Fire has increased their flying hours by nearly 100 percent.

Aero Union out of Chico, California, has four P3 tankers on the fire. CEO Britt Gourley said they bumped the number of mechanics from four to seven for the fire. “We usually don’t have that many assigned to a specific fire,” he said, “but given its size, we felt we had to do this. Our aircraft availability continues to average 99 percent.”

All nine P2V tankers from Neptune in Missoula, Montana, are flying fires — five of them on the Station Fire. Rogers Helicopters out of Clovis, California, has their Turbine Commander working air attack on the fire, and Columbia Helicopters out of Portland, Oregon, says they’re concentrating their resources in southern California as well.

In air operations yesterday, Type 1 helicopters flew the maximum hours allowed. No fixed-wing aircraft were flying today; crews and personnel are being released, with 850 personnel demobed yesterday. Containment’s predicted for next Tuesday evening.

It’s been determined that the cause of the Station Fire was arson — it’s now a homicide investigation. Information or questions should be phoned in to the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department at (323)890-5500.

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