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Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

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Monday, July 14, 2008

firebirds at a well deserved rest

as many of you know, this has been one hell of a fire season in northern california, and it's only the beginning of july.

please note that all pictures can be selected for larger image choices


i'd like to point out that at least some of the firefighting equipment and crews are military, military reserves, or national guards. these folks are doing a fine job helping where they are needed most. one of the places is flying C-130 cargo planes
firebirds6
loaded with MAFFS tanks, which store and deliver fire retardant from cargo planes. the MAFFS tanks were in dire straits when they sent them to us for inspections. read about what we did for them here. so for those along the firelines in the big sur area, and around Paradise, home of the world's finest internet radio station, your homes were saved by a combination of civilian and military personnel, and the use of a nuclear reactor to inspect the tanks. just thought i'd bump that out there for those who really don't like either. and it's a win win for me, because my favorite internet music stream is still on line, partially because of me and the facility i work at.
this last week has been crazy, with an almost constant takeoff and landing of firefighting aircraft, ranging from the small OV-10 Bronco spotter planes, S-2 Tracker converted bombers
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to a couple of converted DC-10s and even a converted 747
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which i blogged about a while ago at big assed airplane.
well today it looks like they either have the fires pretty much under control, or they are giving the pilots and ground crew a much needed rest. here are some of the planes sitting on the tarmac today, including a bunch of different helicopters.
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C-130s, a DC-10 tanker, and in the foreground a new to us tanker bomber with ConAir on the tail. That's a Convair 580 tanker conversion (i think) operated by ConAir of British Columbia, one of the biggest names in aerial firefighting in Canada. That's impressive, because we are getting help not just from out of state, but from our neighbors up in canuckistan. good on ya, eh?
here are a couple of random photos i took of the various helicopters resting after a grueling couple of weeks.
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firebirds2A
i overheard one of the helicopter pilots talking the other day. when discussing the arrival of the canadian aircrews, he said that california fire has more operational helicopters than the entire canadian military. and he wasn't joking.
in closing, i'd just like to say that all of you pilots have given us a hell of an air show, especially the Air Guard C-130 pilots. those dudes took off with full tanks of retardant onboard, and peeled off impressive military turns once airborne, changing directions to the next drop. to all the fire crews on the ground and in the air, you have our most heartfelt thanks for putting your lives in danger to help control, contain and ultimately extinguish the fires that are still burning throughout northern california. like the CDF crew boss said on the radio the other day, "It's only July. This is going to be one hell of a fire season." again, you all have my thanks and respect.

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