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Wildfire News Of The Day (the Firebomber Publications blog) provides comprehensive international wildfire news. Subscribers include over 10,000 personnel from fire agencies, contractors, and government entities on five continents. "BEST NEWSLETTER I HAVE EVER SEEN IN MY 32 YEARS IN THE FIRE SERVICE" - San Diego Fire Department Chief Brian Fennessy.

Saturday, October 28, 2006


The DC-10 Supertanker is FINALLY fighting the Esperanza Fire. With many newspapers and wire services broadcasting stories and photos of the DC-10 performing retardant drops, firefighters are finally getting some visible support from this superb firefighting aircraft. The question now is "How long will it last?" On the Day Fire a few weeks ago, it was pulled off fairly quickly. Like the Day Fire, the Esperanza Fire is on National Forest land. Will the feds yank it off again as they did with the Day Fire, or will they finally overcome their fears of an imminent crash and leave it to do what it does better than any other currently-available firefighting aircraft? Only time will tell. The tragedy to all this is that the Esperanza Fire started around 1 AM on Thursday 10/26 and that five San Bernardino National Forest firefighters were caught in a burnover at 8 AM. The sun was up far enough by that time of the morning that this aircraft would have been allowed to fly (forestry aircraft are not allowed to fly until 30 minutes after sunrise). Had it been available, it could have stopped the fire dead in its tracks along the point of the line where the firefighters were located. Since it wasn't, these brave men were overwhelmed before they could even get their fire shelters deployed. Ask their families if this is an important asset to firefighters and I think I know what their answer will be. But the DC-10 is still working without a contract and the owners have stated flatly that if they don't have an annual contract for $5 million soon, they fold up shop and that's the end of the DC-10. This is unacceptable. For more info on this story, visit my website at Firebomber Publications. Let me know what you think at


  • At 12:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Ignorance is bliss ... you whine and whine about fire officials not using the DC-10, like a little kid whose parents won't let him play with his favorite toy.

    Like a small child that doesn't know any better you fail to place blame where it belongs.

    The blame fully rests with the owners of the DC-10, who were stupid enough to choose a plane that has flown more hours than the manuacturers design life. Their greed caused them to cut corners and now they are paying the price.

    Personally I applaud fire services for sticking to their guns, I wouldnt want that piece of crap plane flying over my community.

    Public saftey comes first, and the decisions relating to safety are being made by trained professionals, not wannabes sitting on the sidelines.

  • At 3:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I would love to know the qualifications of Mr. Anonymous to judge the design life of any aircraft. There are hundreds of Douglas built aircraft such as the DC-3, -4, -7, -8 -9, and -10's flying all over the world. Why? Because they are sturdy well built aircraft that given proper maintenance can fly for many many years to come. Mr. A have you ever heard of the B-52? The newest B-52 was built in the early 1960's, the crews that fly them are all younger than their planes. That aircraft is going to fly for another forty years! Going back to the DC-10 with the interior taken out and the only load being the water or retardant it is way under it's maximum load carrying ability. Given that and the fact the DC-10 has outstanding thrust to weight ratio it should be an outstanding asset to aerial fire fighting if it is given the chance to perform.
    Lastly, if my town is burning I don't give a damn if somebody is flying overhead in a Super Cub droping water from a five gallon bucket I'll take all the help I can get.

  • At 11:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    So you are telling me the Dc 10 was going to stop a santa ana wind driven fire that was spotting 1/4 to 1/2 mile ahead of itself? You are nuts. I dont care how big a tanker you have its not going to stop a fire like that which has been well established for 7 hours... Get real. I sure the plane will have place in some very specific areas on some fires but thats about it.

  • At 1:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Given 'anonymous' and his towering ignorance of airborne firefighting, I would simply like to point out that the USFS took all large firebombers out of the air after a 60 year old ex-NAVY patrol bomber suffered a wing failure in a defect that was know and documented when the aircraft was built but was in an impossible to fix location, and an ex military C-130A had a wing failure that still baffles and confuses people who know the 'HERKIE' intimately.
    THe USFS in it best 1874 thinking decreed that no large aircraft can be used to fight fires on USFS lands unless that aircraft is new build and built to the criteria set by the USFS (great, a government committee designing aircraft). Do you suppose that Boeing who is now the only U.S. based big airplane builder is going to rush to build 15 or 20 governmaent committee designed aircraft?
    Don't raise AIRBUS because the criteria says 'U.S. built"
    The ignorance and closed minded thinking of the USFS flabbergasts me! The USFS is the entire reason that forest fires are being fought by helicopters toting up to 300 gallons of water per trip, kinda like taking a squirt gun to the local lumbr mill fire isn't it?
    So, 'anonymous, until you stop talking with your pals at the USFS and do some real, in depth research into whats going on with the politics of federally fought forest fires, please keep your ignorant opinions to yourself and those you play BINGO with and shut your pie hole.


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