Tracking the Martin Mars

The 7,200-gallon Martin Mars flying boat air tanker has been pretty busy for the last 10 days, working on several fires in southern California. On Thursday the aircraft made five or six drops on the Bluff fire near Banning.

The map below shows the tracks of the ship as its location was updated every two minutes. The location was also recorded with a larger icon when it filled the tank by “scooping” at Diamond Valley Lake and when it opened and closed the drop doors over the fire.

Courtesy of Coulson Flying TankersThe elapsed time between takeoff and landing at Lake Elsinore was three hours and seven minutes.

I am making some guesses here, but if it was carrying only 5,500 gallons and made 5 drops, it delivered about 9,000 gallons an hour for about 27,000 gallons total over the 3 hour period.

The Bluff fire burned 125 acres before it was stopped by firefighters, four air tankers, and three helicopters. It destroyed one outbuilding but no homes.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.