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  • Firefighting

    Fire crews tackle two wildfires in Arch Cape, north Tillamook County

    ARCH CAPE — Fire crews from around the North Coast contained two separate fires – one in Arch Cape and another in north Tillamook County.

    A considerable number of acres – at one point throught to be up to 125 acres – burned Thursday and overnight in the two separate locations. As many as 120 firefighters from the Oregon Department of Forestry and local fire departments tackled the two fires.

  • #2
    WATER-BOMBING helicopter used to fight a large fire at a scrap metal yard in the foothills behind Glenorchy today

    The Tasmanian Fire Service water-bombing helicopter and a large number of fire crews battled the fire which started about 3.30pm in Jackson St, Glenorchy.

    Flames from the fire could be seen from as far away as the shops in Main St, Glenorchy.

    Clouds of smoke rise from the scrap metal yard fire in the foothills behind Glenorchy this afternoon. Picture: Sam Rosewarne Source:Mercury

    With no water resources at the site, the water-bombing helicopter made several flyovers, dropping tonnes of water onto the remote bushland setting.

    Five heavy tankers, four heavy pumpers and a light tanker were used to fight the blaze, which was under control but still burning early this evening.

    It is believed no structures have been damaged.


    • #3
      Fire controlled in Victoria, Southern Australia

      A grassfire that threatened homes in Long Gully has been ruled suspicious.

      Police are searching for the culprits who are believed to have deliberately lit the fire in scrub land in Comet Street about 10.15am Sunday.

      The fire burnt through trees and an empty paddock filled with mine shafts, before it came close to jumping the road and reaching houses.

      Bendigo CFA Station Officer Bryan Suckling said the fire was moments away from threatening homes.

      “It's lucky we got on top of it when we did," he said.

      "It could have easily jumped and spread further. The winds strengthened since we got there and if that had have happened a few minutes earlier it would have been extremely bad.”

      Pat Campbell and her husband Syd Campbell first reported the fire after spotting smoke.

      The couple live in Poulston Street – directly opposite to where the fire started.

      “I was going to close the window and just saw smoke and a flicker of a flame on the road,” Mrs Campbell said.

      “It was pure luck I happened to be looking out the window when I did.

      “The flames got pretty high. Within a few minutes it was at the top of the trees. It was terrifying.”

      Mr Campbell said he thought the fire was going to be more dangerous for Comet Street residents, where smoke billowed into houses.

      “We were very worried,” he said.

      “We were thinking the flames could have crossed the road but fortunately they never did.

      “It could have been really bad, it could have gone down to the school (St Peter’s Catholic Primary school in Fenton Street)”
      “The firefighters were doing a terrific job and the chopper did exactly what it was supposed to.”

      Station Officer Suckling said the aircraft had successfully tackled the heart of the fire after reloading with water from Lake Weeroona three times.

      He said he was concerned by the fact that it was suspicious.

      "It's extremely frustrating to think that there are people out there who would think of lighting a fire on a day like this,” he said.
      "It’s a day with extremely high potential for fire risk and that was well publicised. This has left houses, schools and public assets under threat, it's just unthinkable that someone would cause that deliberately."

      DEPI and CFA put in a control line along Comet Street and continued blacking out until late Sunday afternoon.


      • #4
        S-64 Drafted In to Support Firefighting in Australia's Capital Territory (ACT)

        One of the world's largest and most powerful fire-fighting aircraft has joined ACT fire crews this season, boosting their quick response capabilities.

        The Erickson Air-Crane, from Oregon, USA, can carry more than 10,000 litres of water, runs on a 9000 horsepower engine and has a pump which can drain a swimming pool in a minute.

        It is one of only six brought to Australia this year and the ACT Rural Fire Service chief officer has warned it could still be needed, because the territory's fire season is still far from over.

        Erickson S-64 in Australia

        Erickson's S-64 named 'Gypsy Lady' being refuelled

        Helicopter pilot Andrew Cottee of the RFS sits in one of the four helicopters based at Hume during the quiet days in the fire season

        Canberra will receive an ominous reminder of the fire danger on Monday morning, when the ACT Emergency Services Agency warns that the territory will be covered in a thick smoke haze from the Victorian bushfires.

        The ACT Rural Fire Service Depot in Hume currently has four fire-fighting helicopters on standby, all of which have been tasked out to fires across NSW this summer.

        Crews and pilots are on standby seven days a week and can be airborne in a matter of minutes to help tackle fires in the region.
        Erickson pilot Jesse Naiman said he had taken the helicopter, known as Gypsy Lady, to about 10 fires in the region this summer, due to their large size or bad conditions.

        He said the Erickson had been all across the world battling large blazes.

        ''After this placement it will go to Greece to fight fires in their summer,'' he said.

        He said when he is out in the field he will look for any water to fill his tanks, including swimming pools and hot tubs.

        ''People don't care if you empty their hot-tub though. If the fire's bad enough, they understand,'' he said.

        Andrew Cottee has piloted the smaller but more flexible Dolphin fire-fighting helicopter across the ACT region over the last three to four months.

        He said this had been one of the busier fire seasons in his nine years of fire-fighting.

        ''We're having this hotter weather … they've extended our contract because of the weather coming through,'' he said.

        The Dolphin helicopter can only carry one-tenth of the water capacity of the Erickson, but can also fly Remote Area Firefighting Teams to normally inaccessible bushfires.

        ''The other day there was a lightning strike on a mountain and we went out there and deployed a team of four guys,'' he said.
        ACT Rural Fire Service chief officer Andrew Stark said the service's helicopters had been sent out to fires across the Canberra region, including Cooma, Tumut, Queanbeyan and down towards the coast.

        Despite the chance of cooler weather later this week, Mr Stark said it was only a matter of time before the fire danger crept up again.

        ''We've seen no substantial rain since about the ninth and tenth of November,'' he said.

        ''Until we have any kind of significant rain … then the fire danger [will remain high] all the way through into March, or possibly into April.''


        • #5
          Arapaho, Roosevelt forests to get firefighting helicopter this summer

          The Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests will have a helicopter on hand this summer to help firefighters reach forest areas made inaccessible due to flood-damaged roads, according to U.S. Forest Service news release.

          The Type 3 firefighting helicopter, which is smaller than Type 1 tankers and can fly about 500 feet from the ground, will be available for the forests’ exclusive use from mid-June until mid-September. According to the National Park Service, Type 3 helicopters can carry up to 100 gallons of water and have four to eight passenger seats.

          The helicopter, similar to the one the forests had last summer, was awarded after a Flood Incident Assessment Team found that 232 roads throughout the Northern Colorado forests were damaged by flood waters.

          After the team did a study in November, it found that the floods had caused $16.8 million of damage to roads, trails and other facilities.

          In addition to the helicopter, the forest service received $2.2 million from the Federal Highway Administration to repair damaged roads in the Canyon Lakes and Boulder ranger districts. The flood team’s recovery work is expected to continue throughout the spring and summer.


          • #6
            Scotland On Fire!

            Firefighters were forced to call in a helicopter to bring a massive wildfire under control in the Highlands.

            Roughly 40 firefighters from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service attended the fire in the Glenferness area of Nairn at 4.45pm on Wednesday.

            Fires rage in Glenferness​

            They were joined by 40 estate workers from seven nearby estates, who arranged for a helicopter to drop water on the blaze.

            At its height, the fire had enveloped four square kilometres of grassland, heather and forest.

            The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s assistant chief officer, Robert Scott, said: "This was a significant wildfire that took hold over a wide area.

            “Teams of firefighters used hand-held beaters, specialist all-terrain vehicles and multiple lines of hose to tackle the fire from several locations across one-and-a-half square miles.

            “Our crews worked very closely with staff from seven estates in the area, who also arranged for a helicopter to deploy large volumes of water from the air."


            • #7
              Helitack Helicopter Cal Fire Crew Prepares for Intense Season

              Cal Fire's elite Helitack unit based in Los Gatos began firefighter training a month early to prepare for an intense fire season.

              On Thursday, Cal Fire trained with firefighters from San Jose and Santa Clara counties.

              "The Central Coast is under an exceptional drought this year. Fires are going to start burning aggressively and quickly sooner in the year," Cal Fire Battalion Chief Mike Mathiese said.

              The Helitack helicopter drops firefighters into areas where there's no access for firetrucks in rugged mountains.

              "It's important for us to have that training and knowledge so we can be an effective fire force when we do arrive on scene," San Jose Battalion Fire Chief Jeff Welch said.

              Since Lexington Reservoir and other water sources are low, air crews will have link up with ground crews to supply them with water. A tender truck with a 500-gallon portable tank would link up with them.


              • #8
                Libya Approves Purchase of Fire Attack Helicopters

                The Libyan cabinet has approved the Ministry of Interior's plans to purchase four helicopters for the National Security Authority's fire-fighting division.

                The approval of the deal last month was a follow-up to an initial proposal that was put to the Libyan cabinet in December last year after French-based Airbus Helicopters offered to supply the aircraft at a cost of $53.1 million.

                ​Airbus Fire Attack Puma

                The final approval by the cabinet cleared the Ministry of Finance to go ahead with the purchase from a single bidder without going through the open government tendering process for acquisitions.

                Although the Libyan government did not provide any specifications for the model to be acquired for fire-fighting, Airbus Helicopters is currently offering the EC225 model as the top firefighting machine in its wide range of products.

                "Thanks to its incredible versatility and load transport capacity, the EC225 can support fire ground units, offering quick reaction in the most delicate situations," a statement posted on the company's website says. It says the EC225 an 11-ton helicopter which is powered by two Turbomeca Makila 2A1 engines.

                "The main gear box and the 5-blade rotor give this machine the power for a high payload, a long range and a fast cruise speed, along with flight endurance that exceeds 5 hours and 30 minutes. Most of all, this aircraft meets the latest CS-29 amendments, including the 30-minute dry run demonstration for the main gear box," the company says.

                For the firefighting role the aircraft has an internal 4000-litre water tank and comes with a retractable rapid pump which can fill the tank in 90 seconds.


                • #9
                  Fire Erupts in San Diego

                  The Bernardo Fire erupted around 11 a.m. Tuesday off Nighthawk Lane, southwest of Rancho Bernardo, according to Cal Fire. As of 8 p.m., the then-roughly 800-acre blaze was only 5 percent contained but most of the flames had died down, said San Diego fire-rescue spokesman Lee Swanson.

                  "Significant progress has been made overnight due to the fantastic hard work of all of our first responders and emergency personnel," San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer told reporters this morning at a news conference at Rancho Bernardo Community Park, which was being used as an incident command post for the several agencies involved in fighting the fire.

                  Those agencies included San Diego police and fire, Cal Fire, the San Diego County Sheriff's Department and the Rancho Santa Fe Fire Protection District.

                  Bernardo Fire Photos:

                  San Diego Police Officer Matt Koerber uses a garden hose to keep a home on Avenida Alteras in Fairbanks Ranch

                  Bell 205 being used in water drops

                  Bell 412 makes a water drop next to the Camino Del Sur bridge over La Jolla Canyon

                  An S-64 Skycrane draws water from a pond in Fairbanks Ranch for fighting the fire less than a mile away

                  A CDF airplane drops fire retardant on a fire burring near Fairbanks Ranch



                  • #10
                    CALFIRE Requests Assistance from US Navy Combat Squadron

                    Six flight crews from the “Merlins” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron No.3 (HSC-3) are providing firefighting support to California's Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CALFIRE) in response to wildfires throughout San Diego County.

                    At the request of CALFIRE, the six specially-equipped MH-60S Seahawks are supporting firefighting efforts in the vicinity of Camp Pendleton by conducting aerial water drops.

                    US Navy Seahawk engaged in firefighting operations

                    “The critical part of our role is supporting CALFIRE to help save lives, prevent human suffering and mitigate great property damage,” said Lt. Cmdr. Todd Stansfield, C3F Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA) Lead. “We have Navy personnel and their families that live and work in the areas of San Diego threatened by the fires. Our efforts support both our people and the communities we live in.”

                    In August 2011, U.S. Third Fleet, Naval Air Forces Pacific and Navy Region Southwest entered into a memorandum of understanding with CALFIRE. Under the agreement, naval units provide helicopters when notified by CALFIRE of weather conditions favorable to wild fires.

                    Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron Wing Pacific prepares ready, trained and certified resources to combat wildfires and crews conduct semi-annual training with CALFIRE to ensure an immediate response capability in support of local authorities for emergency events. The assigned crews are capable of being airborne within four hours of receiving a request for assistance to combat fires.

                    Navy helicopters will continue to assist in efforts to combat the San Diego County wildfires until CALFIRE deems assistance is no longer needed.

                    HSC-3 Merlins Insignia


                    • #11
                      PDG Battle Fires in Scotland

                      Teams of firefighters worked through Friday night into Saturday evening at a large wildfire in the Torness area, near Inverness.

                      Scottish Fire and Rescue Service control was alerted at 3.50pm on Friday about the fire which involved grass and trees.

                      Crews from Inverness, Foyers, Dingwall, Drumnadrochit, Fort Augustus, Nairn, Grantown on Spey, Beauly, Carrbridge and Balintore were in attendance.

                      A PDG AS350 helicopter scooping-up water

                      A helicopter was also drafted in from PDG and carried out water bombing in the area as crews tackled the blaze on the ground.

                      Firefighters used fire beaters, knapsack sprayers and main jets to tackle the blaze along with an argocat off road vehicle and a similar vehicle which has been provided by a local estate.

                      The hill ablaze at Torness (Photo: Darren Skinner)

                      Scottish Fire and Rescue Service worked closely with the Forestry Commission and the estate owners and got the fire out just after 6pm on Saturday.

                      Firefighters also successfully extinguished another large wildfire on the Scoraig peninsula in Wester Ross.

                      PDG Helicopters have been making use of the American 'Bambi' bucket

                      Crews from Ullapool, Gairloch, Torridon, Balintore, Invergordon, Cromarty, Achiltibuie and Kinlochewe were involved in the incident.

                      SFRS was supported by the RNLI in Lochinver who provided a boat to ferry firefighters from Ullapool to the peninsula, which is not accessible by road.

                      Chair of the Scottish Wildfire Forum and director of service delivery in the north, assistant chief officer Robert Scott paid tribute to the firefighters involved in the two incidents.

                      "Their tireless work is helping to reduce the impact on the countryside and during the incident in Scoraig their efforts managed to help protect people and property," he said.

                      He added: "The recent warm weather has increased the risk of outdoor fires. Protecting the countryside from wildfires demands that everyone recognises the risk and takes responsibility for preventing fires breaking out in the countryside and areas of grassland."

                      ACO Scott added: "Information and advice is readily available about preventing countryside fires, such as the Muirburn Code and Scottish Outdoor Access Code.

                      This footage from 2011 shows how PDG tackle aerial firefighting

                      "We want people to Join Scotland’s Fight Against Fire and we are urging communities, tourists and visitors to be aware of the heightened risk of wildfire at this time of year. SFRS want people to act responsibly in a countryside environment, such as properly disposing of smoking materials to prevent these fires happening in the first place."


                      • #12
                        Forestale Breda Nardi 500D with Bambi Bucket in Italy:


                        • #13

                          Erickson Renews Contract with City of Los Angeles

                          Erickson Air-Crane have renewed a five-year contract with the City of Los Angeles for the provision of aerial firefighting services. The greater Los Angeles area, one of the most populous and high-value regions in the US, often faces high temperatures and an arid climate during the summer that can lead to fires.

                          “We have tremendous respect for the expert firefighting authorities in the greater Los Angeles area and their devotion to keeping the City and its people safe from fires,” said Udo Rieder, chief executive officer of Erickson. “We are proud to provide continued support to these courageous firefighting crews and their crucial missions through our aerial firefighting efforts.”

                          The new contract includes five guaranteed years of service with five optional one-year extensions thereafter, as well as a 150-day per year minimum availability, up from 90 days in 2013. The contract represents the next chapter of Erickson’s 14-year presence in the Southern California region, including its fire suppression agreements with Los Angeles County and San Diego Gas and Electric.

                          Erickson will provide one S-64 helicopter equipped with the company’s proprietary 2,650-gallon fire suppression system, a detachable water tank with multiple refill options and eight coverage levels for targeted fire suppression. The Los Angeles Fire Department Air Operations Center at Van Nuys Airport will serve as the staging area for the helitanker, which will be available for fire suppression efforts at all times during the contractual service periods, which began Aug. 7, 2014.

                          “The Los Angeles City Fire Department is pleased to continue working with Erickson, as both our department and our residents value the company’s elite aerial fire suppression services,” said Los Angeles Fire Department Chief Ralph Terrazas. “Together, our two organizations help save lives and resources when time is of the essence,” Chief Terrazas added.


                          • #14
                            The Case of the Pink Fire-Fighting Huey

                            Emergency service vehicles are typically high-visibility in colour, but few are quite as eye-catching as Fleet Helicopters’ firefighting helicopter, which is bright pink!

                            The Australian Armidale-based helicopter service provider has joined the fight against cancer by teaming-up with Cancer Council NSW.

                            Fleet Helicopters owner Lachie Onslow​ with "Lucy"

                            Owner Lachie Onslow said the idea came to him when one of their Huey helicporters, needed a new paint job.

                            “You don’t really look up at a blue helicopter, but pink grabs attention,” Mr Onslow said. “I mean, who has a pink helicopter?”

                            Mr Onslow said the chopper, affectionately known as "Lucy", is the only pink Huey in existence.

                            The new paint job has already made quite an impact, raising close to $20,000 in the first month of Lucy’s operation. “We will donate a percentage of Lucy’s income from her firefighting efforts to Pink Ribbon,” Mr Onslow said.

                            Fleet Helicopters is looking for corporate sponsors, with certain donations earning the sponsor’s name on the pink chopper.