Taylor Bridge fire burns 60 homes in Washington

Map, Taylor Ridge fire, August 15, 2012
air tanker drops on Taylor Bridge fire
Tanker 489, a Lockheed L-188A Electra, drops on the Taylor Bridge fire on Tuesday at the Sunlight Waters housing development, as the fire advances on the community near Cle Elum, Washington. Photo by, and used with permission from, Joshua Trujillo / SeattlePI

The Taylor Bridge fire has burned approximately 60 homes 4 miles southeast of Cle Elum and 4 miles northwest of Ellensburg, Washington. Several communities are under evacuation orders.

The fire has blackened 28,000 acres of grassland, sage brush, and timber and is 10 percent contained.

Map, Taylor Ridge fire, August 15, 2012
Map showing heat detected by a satellite on the Taylor Bridge fire, 1:13 p.m. PT, August 15, 2012. MODIS-Google (click to enlarge)

The map of the Taylor Bridge fire above shows that the fire was producing few large sources of heat that could be picked up by the satellite when it passed over the area at 1:13 p.m. PT on Wednesday.

On Wednesday firefighters are focusing on the Sun Light Waters area on the southwest side of the fire, as well as the northern perimeter in the Hidden Valley area.

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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.

12 thoughts on “Taylor Bridge fire burns 60 homes in Washington”

  1. To add to Bill’s list…

    Contracted by Oregon from Butler and available to Compact Agreement States but not USFS lands.
    3-DC-7’s (T-60, T-62, T-66)

    Borrowed via NW Compact Agreement for Montana and other NW Compact members:
    1-CV-580 (T-153 Alberta)
    1-CV-580 (T-171 Saskatchewan)

    Borrowed from Alaska for National use.
    1-CV-580 (T-142 Alaska Spare)
    2-CV-580’s (T-152 & T-155 now in lower 48)

    Borrowed by Montana via NW Compact Agreement:
    2-CV-580’s (T-173 & T-174 Sask)

    Compact agreements allow for short term surge capacity basically at cost from the providing agency. The risk is the aircraft may not be available when needed and subject to recall. The aircraft can be returned when done though similar to a CWN contract.

    Border states and provinces can also activate air support with their Quickstrike provisions as was done with the L-188’s flights. The aircraft depart, reload and return home out of the providing agency’s base.

    Manitoba and Ontario used Minnesota’s (2) and BLM’s contracted (2) CL-215’s earlier in the fire season so the borrowing does go both ways.

    NIFC updates this list daily but doesn’t show all large airtankers

  2. It is incredibly (as in non-existent) for an air tanker to be actioning an incident without the direction of an Air Attack Officer in a command platform (turbocommander, citation, etc.). Possibly the main difference is that the AAO does not actively lead every sortee. The norm is for the AAO to arrive on scene, make game-plans, talk to the IC, etc. When tankers arrive they will stack on station and observe the AAO’s run. Then they fly their drop under the observation of the AAO. If there is concern re: winds or terrain the lead plane could lead the drop, but this is definitely not the norm.

    1. Interesting…I see a lead a/c on the Taylor Bridge video, but none on the Wilson’s Landing (Canada) aerial video. Is using an aircraft to lead in LAT’s a U.S.-only thing?

  3. Unfortunately not enough……
    The Electra in the photo is from Canada. It possibly flew down from nearby Penticton, British Columbia for this drop. There are several other Canadian tankers at work in the U.S. and they have been there for at least a month now. Thankfully, the fire season hasn’t been too bad in Canada this summer, so their planes have been able to help.

    1. g barrett:

      It changes on almost a daily basis, but I’ll take a stab at an answer. These numbers are approximate, and keep in mind that in 2002 there were 44 large air tankers on exclusive use contracts:

      On exclusive use contracts:
      — 8 P2Vs
      — 1 BAe-146

      Actively working now on Call When needed contracts:
      — 2 DC-10s

      — 1 CV-580 from the state of Alaska

      — 6 or 7 military C-130s activated at this time.

      –There are also a couple of Type 3 air tankers, CL-215 scoopers, on contract to the state of Minnesota floating around (pun intended). There may also be two other CL-215s on Department of Interior contracts.


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