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Thread: Wildfire 2021

  1. #876
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    Doing the annual fall TGR check-in.

    Bummer that a lot of my favorite fall MTB trails just went up in smoke, but, these things could've been so much worse. Here's hoping we don't have to evacuate this fall, my folks don't have to evacuate for the second time, etc.
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    I realize there is not much hope for a bullfighting forum. I understand that most of you would prefer to discuss the ingredients of jacket fabrics than the ingredients of a brave man. I know nothing of the former. But the latter is made of courage, and skill, and grace in the presence of the possibility of death. If someone could make a jacket of those three things it would no doubt be the most popular and prized item in all of your closets.

  2. #877
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    Quote Originally Posted by MTT View Post
    I have not seen anything yet
    Yesterday it appeared they were hitting it hard with air support and referring to the ground work as. Securing lines and clean up

    On a lighter note 20 small fires were found near the American river. “Arson again “. Cali has a bunch of really fucked up people
    CA has a bunch of people, there’s fucked up people everywhere


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  3. #878
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevo View Post
    Seems like the Caldor Fire IMTs (two IMTs as far as I know) and resources did a pretty amazing job keeping the fire out of Meyers and South Lake Tahoe.
    I have been thinking about the manpower and level of effort that it took to defend Meyers and SLT and wondering what would be meaningful information (not considering all the previous mitigation work). My initial consideration is the # of people involved working east of the crest and heavy equipment involved and comparing that data to the number of vulnerable structures, infrastructure, critical facilities, and population in Meyers and SLT.

  4. #879
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    Quote Originally Posted by bodywhomper View Post
    I have been thinking about the manpower and level of effort that it took to defend Meyers and SLT and wondering what would be meaningful information (not considering all the previous mitigation work). My initial consideration is the # of people involved working east of the crest and heavy equipment involved and comparing that data to the number of vulnerable structures, infrastructure, critical facilities, and population in Meyers and SLT.
    Seems like as bad as things were, there were somewhat favorable conditions for lighting back burns around the neighborhoods in Meyers and Christmas Valley and there were enough resources to hold the lines during firing/ burning ops. Terrain may have also been a positive factor- Meyers/ SLT/ Christmas Valley were down hill from the fire, and while it did make pushes downhill it didn't run downhill with the same ferocity as fires like the Waldo Canyon Fire (CO Springs) that was pushed downhill into neighborhoods by wind in flashy fuels.

    Fuels mitigation would have been another positive contributing factor.

    All that said, it sure looked like a monumental effort in very demanding conditions that was really well coordinated by the IMTs.

  5. #880
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    ^ Well said, Kevo.

    Seen this picture yet? It speaks volumes, one for the ages. From the Plumas NF FB feed. Ruby Mtn Hotshot crewwoman attending to her tool while protecting that town of Milford from the Dixie fire. So telling.
    Name:  258642BE-F42F-4750-944B-07CB9198143A.jpeg
Views: 432
Size:  109.2 KB

  6. #881
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    Question for the pros here - is it standard procedure to measure Fire progress in terms of chains per hour?

    I’ve seen three different fires in OR report this way over the summer. May be the same guy rotating to different fires who is doing this but it seems a weird way to measure…
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  7. #882
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    That’s kind of old-school, almost archaic. I’d bet good $$ it’s an older guy.

    “Two more chains” is kind of a wildfire meme.
    https://www.wildfirelessons.net/resources/twomorechains

  8. #883
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    Thx
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  9. #884
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    Does anyone have any insight into the 60 minutes piece the other night about Coulson Aviation and some Chinook helis they have that they are running at night? To my amateur JONG firefighting mind I'd assume the helis were sitting because t's weren't crossed and i's dotted on what ever certifications were needed to contract with the FS vs CalFire but I'm curious what the brain trust has to say.

    Here is the transcript if anyone is interested in checking it out:
    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/califor...es-2021-09-26/

  10. #885
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    If you have “the hammer” everything looks like a nail?

  11. #886
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    Thx for posting. I’m done for tonight but will try to post some more organized thoughts tomorrow.

    Short reaction take: I’m pretty wary of tactical fire aviation at night. I’m wary about blustery optimistic talk about aircraft changing everything. That was the talk about using S-61s for Helitack right before Iron-44…the talk at the political and media level was totally disconnected from our impressions and operations in the field, and a bunch of people died. I think you could do a hell of a lot of other things to get around a fire with $8-10k/hr burning a hole in uncle Sam’s pocket. I think often, not always, but often the big spendy airshows are deployed as theater for political ass-covering.
    I dunno. I’m out, so I guess we’ll see if they’re safe and effective.

  12. #887
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    Quote Originally Posted by ill-advised strategy View Post
    Thx for posting. I’m done for tonight but will try to post some more organized thoughts tomorrow.

    Short reaction take: I’m pretty wary of tactical fire aviation at night. I’m wary about blustery optimistic talk about aircraft changing everything. That was the talk about using S-61s for Helitack right before Iron-44…the talk at the political and media level was totally disconnected from our impressions and operations in the field, and a bunch of people died. I think you could do a hell of a lot of other things to get around a fire with $8-10k/hr burning a hole in uncle Sam’s pocket. I think often, not always, but often the big spendy airshows are deployed as theater for political ass-covering.
    I dunno. I’m out, so I guess we’ll see if they’re safe and effective.
    I think it was the Station Fire that got the USFS night flying program restarted. There was a significant amount of criticism for not attacking that fire at night if I recall. A majorly expensive program that was driven by politics.

    It seems like if you have specific tactical objectives that can be met with the aircraft flying at night that are commensurate with the additional risk then go ahead. I don’t see the rationale for flying at night across the entire west IMO. Coulsen does seem to be at the bleeding edge of this technology so maybe things have changed. I know the military NVG tech has gotten a lot better over the last two decades of war, so I’m sure some of that has trickled out and there is probably a nice pool of pilots who have flown NVG low level in a conflict zone.

    I think if ground operations folks are saying “hey, I need night water drops to accomplish objective X” then it should be run through a risk decision framework and they should fly. If it is just Coulsens S76 lazing targets and dropping water with a Chinook and no ground forces we already know that is a waste of money (not that that has ever stopped anyone).

    IAS - the crew I worked on had a S61 the same year as Iron44. They were so skeptical of the program they essentially refused to fly people on them by mid season. I think maybe that program could have worked or been a model for transition to the S70 platform but those lying fucks decided they needed to make a buck.

    Interestingly Coulsens website says they are carded to fly people with S61s so maybe that program is back?

    “ 1) Coulson is the only Type 1 operator in the world to have approval moving crews (up to 18 Firefighters at once) in the United States, Canada, and Australia. ”


    I don’t know, that whole transcript reminds me of the 747 stuff that floated around while the aircraft never actually met the air tanker board requirements. On the other hand, Coulsen appears to be straight up killing it in the aerial firefighting department and not just in the US, they work globally.

  13. #888
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    Wildfire 2021

    I don’t trust anything that comes out of Coulsens farther then that relic of floating kindling, tin and spare parts they try on foist on the BC taxpayer every fire season can fly between repairs (hint - not far).


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  14. #889
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    Braid babe

    Quote Originally Posted by Meadow Skipper View Post
    ^ Well said, Kevo.

    Seen this picture yet? It speaks volumes, one for the ages. From the Plumas NF FB feed. Ruby Mtn Hotshot crewwoman attending to her tool while protecting that town of Milford from the Dixie fire. So telling.
    Name:  258642BE-F42F-4750-944B-07CB9198143A.jpeg
Views: 432
Size:  109.2 KB
    Braid babe for sure. Looking at inciweb most mornings, my eyes glaze over.

  15. #890
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    Wildfire 2021

    Quote Originally Posted by ill-advised strategy View Post
    Thx for posting. I’m done for tonight but will try to post some more organized thoughts tomorrow.

    Short reaction take: I’m pretty wary of tactical fire aviation at night. I’m wary about blustery optimistic talk about aircraft changing everything. That was the talk about using S-61s for Helitack right before Iron-44…the talk at the political and media level was totally disconnected from our impressions and operations in the field, and a bunch of people died. I think you could do a hell of a lot of other things to get around a fire with $8-10k/hr burning a hole in uncle Sam’s pocket. I think often, not always, but often the big spendy airshows are deployed as theater for political ass-covering.
    I dunno. I’m out, so I guess we’ll see if they’re safe and effective.
    It is theater. We had a grass fire last month just south of town and they deployed four small seaplane tankers doing water drops and a large tanker with retardant. There are dozer lines already in place around the entire perimeter of the fire to protect high voltage transmission lines. People were really excited about the show and response even though the fire was 100% contained to begin with and it was a very costly “show”.

    I have a friend that worked for Coulsen in Chile when they deployed the 747 he was helping them in the lead plane. It was pretty cool but I’m not sure it was really effective

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  16. #891
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    Quote Originally Posted by ill-advised strategy View Post
    Thx for posting. I’m done for tonight but will try to post some more organized thoughts tomorrow.

    Short reaction take: I’m pretty wary of tactical fire aviation at night. I’m wary about blustery optimistic talk about aircraft changing everything. That was the talk about using S-61s for Helitack right before Iron-44…the talk at the political and media level was totally disconnected from our impressions and operations in the field, and a bunch of people died. I think you could do a hell of a lot of other things to get around a fire with $8-10k/hr burning a hole in uncle Sam’s pocket. I think often, not always, but often the big spendy airshows are deployed as theater for political ass-covering.
    I dunno. I’m out, so I guess we’ll see if they’re safe and effective.
    Pretty much nailed it there J.

    I was on a night-flying helitack crew in ‘77 (yeah, I’m old) - Rose Valley LPNF - when there was a mid-air collision between our ship and an LA County ship as they approached the pads during night ops. That was the end of federal night flying for a long time. Kind of traumatic for the crew.

    But back then I was underwhelmed by the effectiveness of water drops while working on the line at night. The cost/effort/risk/benefit math didn’t seem good, but these days (more intense fire behavior) it might be a lot better in the urban interface. I could see night flying to work on structure protection, though it might be more cost effective if people would just firewise their home/buildings.

    But unless people have a strong background/experience in wildfire, they pretty much always overrate the effectiveness of retardant and water drops, so yeah, a lot of air ops (and $$$) are for political/PR reasons. A lot. Called them CNN drops back in the day.

  17. #892
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    Quote Originally Posted by MagnificentUnicorn View Post
    It is theater. We had a grass fire last month just south of town and they deployed four small seaplane tankers doing water drops and a large tanker with retardant. There are dozer lines already in place around the entire perimeter of the fire to protect high voltage transmission lines. People were really excited about the show and response even though the fire was 100% contained to begin with and it was a very costly “show”.

    I have a friend that worked for Coulsen in Chile when they deployed the 747 he was helping them in the lead plane. It was pretty cool but I’m not sure it was really effective

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    Some years ago some old snow shed wood caught fire on the very steep rocky technical unvegetated slope of Donner Peak. According to the FD they put it out with water drops so that people wouldn't worry--otherwise they would have let it burn out. (When the RR built concrete show sheds they just tossed the old wood down the slope--never cleaned it up.)

  18. #893
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    Is there any credibility to the ability to use these things to get small fires out quickly?

    From a laymen’s perspective it seems like these things on the Caldor fire would just be like trying to put out a bonfire by peeing on it. But maybe for spot fires crossing lines or close to houses it would matter?

    A crew is currently thinning the wildland and 30 acre private parcel below and adjacent to us on the canyon rim. We now have a pretty good firebreak all around us. I sleep much better now.


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  19. #894
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    Quote Originally Posted by neufox47 View Post
    Is there any credibility to the ability to use these things to get small fires out quickly?

    From a laymen’s perspective it seems like these things on the Caldor fire would just be like trying to put out a bonfire by peeing on it. But maybe for spot fires crossing lines or close to houses it would matter?

    A crew is currently thinning the wildland and 30 acre private parcel below and adjacent to us on the canyon rim. We now have a pretty good firebreak all around us. I sleep much better now.


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    Short answer is yes, when supporting ground crews that are actually putting in a fuel free line around the fire.

    They are very effective at reducing or checking fire behavior, but cannot put a fire out by themselves.

  20. #895
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    Quote Originally Posted by neufox47 View Post
    Is there any credibility to the ability to use these things to get small fires out quickly?

    From a laymen’s perspective it seems like these things on the Caldor fire would just be like trying to put out a bonfire by peeing on it. But maybe for spot fires crossing lines or close to houses it would matter?

    A crew is currently thinning the wildland and 30 acre private parcel below and adjacent to us on the canyon rim. We now have a pretty good firebreak all around us. I sleep much better now.


    Sent from my iPhone using TGR Forums
    The example they showed on 60 minutes was on a spot fire ahead of the Caldor and the Chinook put it out. 3000 gallons. The philosophy of the fire chief who brought it was to use it in initial attack while fires are still small and on spot fires.

    Haven't you ever put out a fire by peeing on it? Guess you never went to summer camp.

  21. #896
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    Quote Originally Posted by old goat View Post
    The example they showed on 60 minutes was on a spot fire ahead of the Caldor and the Chinook put it out. 3000 gallons. The philosophy of the fire chief who brought it was to use it in initial attack while fires are still small and on spot fires.
    That’s the ‘philosophy’ of any fire personnel that have a clue. The drops on large fires are usually ‘CNN drops’ unless there’s a structure or other point protection objective. In my time air tankers were often pulled from large fire support for initial attack, the thinking being that since the large one had already gotten away concentrating on a new start would maybe/probably keep from having two large fires.

    Priorities.

    Also, and I’ve mentioned this before, there’s a reason the stuff dropped is called retardant, instead of extinguisher. Boots on the ground are needed 9.5 times out of 10 after a drop.

  22. #897
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    Quote Originally Posted by Meadow Skipper View Post
    Pretty much nailed it there J.

    I was on a night-flying helitack crew in ‘77 (yeah, I’m old) - Rose Valley LPNF - when there was a mid-air collision between our ship and an LA County ship as they approached the pads during night ops. That was the end of federal night flying for a long time. Kind of traumatic for the crew.
    Wait, let’s go back to this.
    Did rotors clip, or did fuselages touch as well?
    How far were you off the deck when things went to shit?
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  23. #898
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    ^^Curious as well. "mid-air collision" that was "traumatic for the crew" implying not deadly??

  24. #899
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    ‘77 recap. The two ships were headed in after drops to the landing pad to reload water, IIRC the LACo ship (Bell 205) came down on the USFS ship (Bell 212) from above on approach, about 100 feet off the deck. LACo’s skids into the USFS rotors. I was off duty, in the sack, having worked the day shift (we were staffed for 24 hr. ops), but the noise was horrific, as was the scene.

    One pilot (LACo) died, a USFS pilot was injured (night flying ships had two pilots on board). When I said “the crew” I meant everyone on the Rose Valley crew was devastated - pilots, helitack, helishots. And I imaging the LACo crew as well.

  25. #900
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    That heli accident sounds awful.

    Back to retardant use. The small wildfire next to my property was extinguished by a retardant drop by Hoser. The fire was very small, like 100x100 at the time.

    Thx for the thoughts a page or two back about the success in South Lake Tahoe. I can see this getting future attention as a success story due to many successes, including a huge and well coordinated work force.

    Apparently, the evacuation plan of South Lake Tahoe was very recently completed and planners are considering it a general success.

    Evacuation where I live still feels like it could be a total clusterfuck.

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