Firebomber Publications Blog

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.

Monday, August 31, 2009


First up in wildfire news today, some comments from John Skorupa, Senior Business Development Manager for the Precision Container Air Delivery System (PCADS) program at Boeing's Phantom Works, who had the following to say in regards to inquiries about the effectiveness of their product on the massive Station Fire burning in Southern California:

The winds were still last night -- the perfect time to attack. Instead, the fire doubled in size over night! If we could get 6 Air National Guard C-130s dropping PCADS, I bet we could put it out. It would be a real shame if we lost the Mt Wilson antennas or observatory, or any more lives. Our ground testing is now set for 28-30 Sep in Reno. If we can prove that the bundles can withstand a 3g crash, we'll be cleared to load them in a USAF C-130. Our first demo drop will be at NATI-PATCAD the week of 21 Oct. By next spring we should have the system cleared for live fire drops.

For more information on this advanced firefighting system, two links are pertinent: PCADS Fights Fires and PCADS Info.

A summary of wildfires burning in five Western states is up next; but after state officials canceled the DC-10 contract to save money earlier this year, a 90 day contract was instituted after wildfires broke out in Northern California, and although officials contend that budget shortages have not lessened the air attack, some air resources, like the 747 supertanker, have not been brought into the fight, while others have been underutilized. Technological limitations prevent many of the aircraft from seeing through smoke or flying at night; but with full containment of the Station Fire not expected to be attained until September 8, two CL-415 aircraft joined the fight today to try to keep the fire away from homes, and the Martin Mars may also be tapped to assist. As the Station Fire exceeded 85,000 acres burned, Gov. Schwarzenegger declared emergencies in four counties in the state affected by wildfires; but two Los Angeles County firefighters were killed when their rig crashed during firefighter operations in the Angeles National Forest; and as the governor praised the two LA County firefighters who were lost, LAFD's new fire chief announced the suspension of the planned 'brown outs' of several fire stations, originally instituted to save money. Firefighters threw aircraft into the battle to stop the Station Fire from reaching Acton; and local telecommunications provider Verizon has beefed up phone capabilities for both firefighters and evacuees. A strike team of 25 firefighters had the task of clearing vegetation to protect the valuable transmission towers atop Mount Wilson; but they have been pulled back due to the danger, as the Station Fire continues spreading towards Mount Wilson. Next up, a National Public Radio reporter discusses airborne firefighting tactics in a radio segment. The well-traveled Cherokee Hot Shots have journeyed from eastern Tennessee to California to help fight the Station Fire. As wildfires continue to burn in Southern California, a writer provides tips on avoiding health problems due to the smoky atmosphere; and Farmers insurance has prepped several teams to assist people who lose property in the wildfires with filing insurance claims. With the Oak Glen wildfire topping 900 acres, firefighting resources are becoming strained with so many wildfires in the area actively burning; while a small wildfire in San Diego County received an overwhelming response from CAL FIRE over the weekend. Air-tankers, bulldozers, and firefighters were battling a blaze in central California that destroyed dozens of structures over the weekend. A wildfire burning in the Tonto National Forest has caused authorities to evacuate the Arizona town of Payson. Lightning strikes are making life difficult for Colorado firefighters; and with winds kicking up, fire managers in Utah are battling a baker's dozen of blazes. A wildfire in Utah's Dixie National Forest has now exceeded 10,000 acres; while the Bureau of Land Management and US Forest Service were on the hot seat with both critics and the governor over allowing this wildfire to threaten homes. Commentary from the Poynter Institute in Florida discusses the increased threat from wildfires. An article from British Columbia, Canada, provides additional advice to people with breathing difficulties in dealing with wildfire smoke. Nearly a dozen wildfires in Portugal are keeping firefighters very busy; and another wildfire has broken out in Indonesia, this time on the island of Java. Heading Down Under, Victoria's homebuilding boss has indicated that he would probably not remain behind to defend his home in a bushfire even with tougher new bushfire standards; and environmental spokespeople felt that vegetation clearance around homes in Victoria might give homeowners a false sense of security when another bushfire breaks out. A landowner conducting a controlled burn may have caused what is now a major bushfire along New South Wales' South Coast; while a mobile phone social networking application could prove useful for helping residents threatened by oncoming bushfires to keep in touch. Bush fires also burned over the weekend on a Queensland plantation.

Multiple wildfires scorch West in dry, hot weather

Budget crisis hasn't slowed aerial assault on Station fire, officials insist

Helicopters, air tankers fight poor visibility

Two firefighters die in Station Fire, which grows to 45,500 acres

Schwarzenegger declares emergencies in 4 counties

2 firefighters killed in crash amid SoCal wildfire

Schwarzenegger: State lost two heroes when firefighters died in Angeles National Forest

'Treacherous' fire bears down on Acton with air assault underway [Updated]

Verizon Increases Support for California Firefighters, Evacuees Relying on Verizon's Wireless and Wired Networks

Firefighters still at top of Mt. Wilson

Fire moves west toward Santa Clarita, Sylmar; Mt. Wilson in peril

2 Super Scoopers ready to deploy

Unicoi Hotshots Join 2,000 Firefighters In California

Staying safe from wildfire smoke

Farmers Insurance Claims Teams Assist Victims of California Wildfires

Oak Glen fires triples in size overnight

Spread of Steffy brush fire stopped, CalFire reports

Auburn blaze destroys 60 structures

Wildfire forces evacuations near Payson

3 cabins threatened by Western Colorado wildfire

BLM Working To Manage 13 Wildfires In Utah

Mill Flat Fire roaring out of control

Herbert views fire, criticizes federal policies

Why Wildfires Are a Growing Threat

Protect yourself from forest fire smoke

Portugal reports at least 11 forest fires

Fire breaks out in Gunung Putri conservation forest

Brian Welch tells Royal Commission he would leave home during bushfire

Land clearing, building regulations leading to 'false sense of security'

Burn-off may have sparked South Coast bushfire

Pocket Life network application for bushfire warning proposed

Bushfires rage in Logan plantation

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