California: Bridge fire initial attacked by three Very Large Air Tankers

The Bridge Fire was reported at 2:20 p.m. PDT on Friday, 10 miles east of Mariposa, California and quickly grew to 300 acres. An extremely aggressive aerial initial attack that included three DC-10 Very Large Air Tankers assisted firefighters on the ground. The DC-10s that usually carry 11,600 gallons of fire retardant were working out of Castle Airport 44 miles west of the fire.

Approximately 700 homes and five businesses in the Ponderosa basin were ordered evacuated, according to a county sheriff’s spokesperson. Early Saturday morning evacuations were still in place for homes on Harris Cutoff Road, Chowchilla Mountain Road, and all of the Ponderosa Basin area.

As of 6:30 a.m. PDT on Saturday CAL FIRE reported that the fire was still 300 acres and they were calling it 25 percent contained. Resources assigned to the fire include 746 personnel, 94 engines, 27 hand crews, and 11 dozers.

Three DC-10s at Castle
File photo of the three DC-10 air tankers at Castle Airport, August 30, 2014. Photo by 10 Tanker Air Carrier. (click to see a larger version.)

As far as we know, this is the first time that the three Very Large Air Tankers have been assigned to the same fire at the same time. The third DC-10 was introduced into the fleet on August 30, 2014.


Thanks and a hat tip go out to Johnny.

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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.

2 thoughts on “California: Bridge fire initial attacked by three Very Large Air Tankers”

  1. Aviation resources dispatched to the Bridge, Oregon Mountain and Junction within the last thirty days has proven Dr. Gabberts prescription for stopping dangerous-anger fires within the first burning period. Expensive, very, cost per acre burned. Savings of millions of suppression dollars on just these three fires. Allowing people to return to their homes and lives, can you put a cost on that?


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