Leading off the news today is a missive from Wayne Coulson, owner of the Martin Mars, in regards to their Australian helicopter operations:
FYI we have two Sikorsky S-61's heading down to Victoria State in Australia for the firefighting season. We have had the S-61's down there for three years and have been awarded another 3 year contract with an additional 2 year extension. Both aircraft have been set up with a tank, 18 seats and rappel capability for our customer. The aircraft are shipped out of Long Beach California by vessel to Melbourne where they are assembled and one will be stationed with a S-64 at Melbourne and one will be stationed in Mansfield which is 60 miles North of Melbourne. We are the urban interface airliner/rappel aircraft. We have owned and operated S-61's for 22 years and operate in the US as well. One other fact is we have 105,000 safe hours on this aircraft type.
San Diego firefighters protested projected budget cutbacks (which would undoubtedly affect wildland operations), including some comments by San Diego Regional Fire Safety Forum member Frank DeClercq. Here we are a couple of weeks away from Thanksgiving and the next headline pops up about hot weather in Southern California! Calaveras County, California, is having some thinning of timber performed, and Arizona fire authorities are asking residents to discuss their prescribed burn policy. The governor of Colorado is putting up $5.5 million to fight the bark beetle problem that's impacting tourism and the timber business in that state, as recounted in the next two articles. Three tales from the South are next up, covering fires and burn bans in Alabama, Mississippi, and North Carolina. In Turkey, firefighters were aided by a providential rainstorm, while a fire in Kashmir, India, is causing concern with authorities there. Homeowners in the southeastern part of Australia are also concerned about the current bushfire season, and a firefighter was injured while tackling a grassfire outside of Melbourne.
Firefighters Turn Out to Battle Budget Cuts
Forecaster predicts hot, windy weather
Fuel Reduction Project Public Meeting Announced
Public comment sought on fire plan for Grand Canyon
Colo. announces plan to battle bark beetle damage
Lawmakers announce plan to reduce wildfire risk
Update: Birmingham firefighters have eastern Birmingham woods fire controlled
Jackson County under burn ban
2 Firefighters Injured In NC Wildfire
Rain puts out forest fire in Finike
Blaze in Pahalgam wildlife sanctuary enters 5th day
Homeowners worried by bushfire season
Firefighter suffers cuts and bruises in Melbourne grassfire