747 air tanker demonstration in Canada

Evergreen's 747 "Supertanker" releases about 20,000 gallons of water at the Edmonton International Airport on Tuesday. Photo: Bruce Edwards, Edmonton Journal

Evergreen is actively marketing their 20,000 gallon 747 air tanker. On Tuesday they put on another demonstration, this time at the Edmonton International Airport in Canada, making a drop along runway 02/20.

Evergreen is hoping to obtain an exclusive contract for the aircraft at $3 million a month. This will be a tough sell in Canada, where their strategy is small and nimble air tankers. In addition, the 747 could not be accommodated at any of the 14 air tanker bases in Alberta.

Resident killed in Spain wildfire; soldiers injured

Civilian fatality

The wildfires in Spain have claimed another victim. The body of an unidentified man was found in a house that burned in a fire near the town of Arenas de San Pedro, about 70 miles west of Madrid. A woman is also missing in the fire, according to regional authorities.

Six firefighters have died while fighting fires in Spain in the last several days.

Three Soldiers injured

Three soldiers that were working on a wildfire in Spain were injured when a truck driven by one of them overturned and then hit another vehicle containing two soldiers near the town of Caceres.

PG&E to pay $14.8 million for Pendola fire

In October, 1999, a 170-foot rotting Ponderosa pine tree fell onto a Pacific Gas and Electric power line near Camptonville, California. The power line ignited the tree and the fire spread to private property and the Tahoe and Plumas National Forests, ultimately burning 11,725 acres. The fire cost $4 million to suppress.

The government contended that PG&E should have removed the hazardous tree.

The $14.8 million from the settlement will go towards the suppression costs and for restoration projects on the national forests. 

Wildfire in Iceland–firefighters denied helicopter

Photo: Eyglo Svala Arnarsdottir

I have always been intrigued by Iceland. Unlike it’s neighbor Greenland, there is quite a bit of vegetation on the small island nation. About one-fourth of the area of Iceland has a continuous plant cover.

But today was the first time that I had heard of a wildfire there.

On Monday, firefighters there fought a fire from 5 PM until 7 AM. It was a walk-in through difficult terrain. They asked for a helicopter to assist, presumably with a water bucket, and the request was denied…twice.

From the Iceland Review:

The wildfire occurred in the same place as Friday,” (head of the fire department)  Asmundur Jónsson said. The area is 420 meters above sea level, up in the mountain. The road leading there is treacherous and firemen have to walk through lava and thick moss, sometimes reaching their knees. A rescue squad transported equipment and supplies to the fire fighters.

The firemen experimented with additives in the water, intended to increase its effectiveness. The experiment went well, Jónsson said.

“I have been trying to get the helicopter twice and have been denied both times. They said that since no property was under risk in the moss fire in the heath east of Kleifarvatn Lake and no summer houses were in jeopardy, there was no need for it. However, many centuries’ old vegetation was being destroyed.”

Jónsson said that a source of water was only three kilometers away from the area. Being a difficult path to travel by foot, it would have been so easy for the helicopter. “It would have taken care of the fire in an hour or so,” he explained. “The conditions there are tremendous.”

Rock Creek fire, 70 years ago today

On July 28, 1939 near Orovada, Nevada the Rock Creek fire took the lives of five firefighters.

It started at 11:15 on July 28th, 1939 from lightning. The point of origin is located approximately five miles southeast of Orovada, Nevada and four miles due east of the Highway 95 monument. Between 15:30 to 16:00 the fire burned explosively downhill in a westerly direction, under the influence of a thunderstorm directly over the fire that produced 40 to 60 mile per hour downdraft winds. A crew was entrapped and 5 died.

More information about the Rock Creek fire can be found at the Fire Leadership site. Additional infamous fires are listed in the Infamous World Fires publication on our Documents page.