Wildfire briefing, December 13, 2013

C295 water drop test.

Airbus completes second round of tests of C295 airtanker

C295 water drop test.
C295 water drop test. Airbus photo.

Airbus is experimenting with a C295 that has been converted into an air tanker. The first tests were designed to monitor the performance of the aircraft as the water was released. In the second phase the company conducted seven water drops at a range near Cordoba, Spain where water was dropped into a grid of cups which measured the amount of water. After the engineers analyze the data they will know the volume and consistency of the drop pattern across the grid. The Interagency AirTanker Board requires similar tests before issuing federal certification for air tankers in the United States.

Fire Aviation has the rest of the story.

Western Governors prepared to do more to fight wildfires

At a meeting of the Western Governors Association on Thursday some of the state representatives said that in light of tight budgets at the federal level they are willing to spend more of their own resources to fight fires in their states. However not all of the governors at the conference shared that position, as reported by KTVN:

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval was alone in making an outright plea for federal firefighting resources. He said the Silver State should be entitled to more federal attention because it is home to more federal lands.

His fellow governors groaned and shook their heads, and [Idaho Governor C.L. “Butch”] Otter joked that someone should shut off the Nevada governor’s microphone.

Governor John Hickenlooper of Colorado said that in addition to studying the possibility of establishing an aerial firefighting fleet, “the state is considering taking other local measures, including mandating that buildings use fire-resistant materials, and requiring property owners to disclose wildfire risks to potential buyers the same way they must disclose flood risks”, according to the KTVN report.

Granite Mountain Hotshots’ tribute fence items being preserved

After 19 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots were killed while fighting the Yarnell Hill Fire on June 30, family members, friends, and strangers left thousands of memorial items on the fence bordering the Prescott, Arizona fire station base of the crew. All of the items were removed a few weeks ago and are painstakingly being cataloged and preserved by volunteers. Below is an excerpt from an article at the Prescott Daily Courier:

Volunteer Deborah Balzano, who has devoted four days a week to the effort, said the process has been overwhelming at times.

“One day, I really lost it,” she said. “I found an infant’s onesie with the words, ‘My daddy is a hero.'”

And just like the fence served as a forum where the community could show its grief, volunteers say the preservation process has helped them deal with the tragedy.

“I wanted to do something,” volunteer Marian Powell explained on Thursday. “That was the same motivation people had for putting things on the fence – they wanted to do something. This is my way to do something.”

Volunteer Ered Matthew said that, for many, the fence served as “therapy through art and creating something.”

Ted Pohle, a retired schoolteacher, said he found the children’s tributes – including many miniature toy fire trucks – especially touching.

USFS awards sole source air tanker contract to Neptune

On Thursday the U.S. Forest Service awarded a sole source contract to Neptune Aviation to supply two next-generation air tankers for the next four to nine years beginning in 2014. The estimated value of the contract is $142,000,000 and has a base period of four years with the possibility of adding five more.

The details are at Fire Aviation.

Forest Service not using $100,000 worth of drones

The U.S. Forest Service spent $100,000 in 2007 to buy two Sky Seer drone aircraft that they have not figured out how to use. Apparently the agency purchased the drones seven years ago initially to be used for law enforcement, but FAA regulations and other problems have presented obstacles to the very expensive unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) taking to the skies.

The details are at Fire Aviation.

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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.