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  • Tankers Away

    Fire bosses temporarily lose air power in battling wildfires

    (Phoenix-AP) -- As we head into wildfire season, fire bosses are
    temporarily without one of their best allies.
    More than a quarter of the heavy air tankers used to drop
    retardant on fires have been grounded because of safety concerns.
    The remaining planes have to be reinspected and recertified
    before taking off and battling wildfires.
    The government says that so far, only nine have been certified.
    Once they're back in the air, the tankers will hold 15-percent less
    retardant because of weight concerns.
    Another new policy is in place.
    Heavy air tankers will be used primarily to attack small fires
    to keep them from growing large.


    (Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

  • #2
    Firefighters anticipate change in tactics after tanker shortage

    BOISE, Idaho (AP) - Many of the heavy air tankers needed to drop
    retardant on remote wildland fires this summer will be grounded due
    to structural problems.
    Some of the tankers used by the National Interagency Fire Center
    are more than 40 years old. Many were originally designed for
    long-range bombing runs.
    The planes were not designed for firefighting maneuvers, and
    years of that activity has beaten them up, National Interagency
    Fire Center spokesman Don Smurthwaite said.
    Trouble with the aging tankers started during the 2002 fire
    season, when wing problems resulted in the loss of two planes. Nine
    others were grounded after more wing cracks were discovered.
    Only 17 of 44 tankers are certified for flying, but fire
    officials hope as many as 30 will be ready by July.
    Fewer tankers could mean an increased strain on fire suppression
    agencies across the state, but officials are not too concerned.
    "This is really nothing new, (firefighters) compete for
    resources every year," said Steve Raddatz, fire management officer
    for the Boise National Forest.
    Raddatz said the Boise and Payette forests will be well
    protected. Forest officials can share helicopters equipped with
    water buckets to assist firefighters on the ground.
    To compensate for limited use of the tankers, officials say they
    will be used to strategically snuff fires out before they can
    spread. In previous years, the planes have been used to make
    multiple sweeping retardant drops on large fires.
    Officials are also in the process of contracting smaller
    single-engine planes they hope can help make up for the loss of the
    tankers.
    The more agile planes are easier to refill and can land on
    short, improvised air strips. The air strips could be located much
    closer to fire areas, allowing the planes to make more trips.
    Officials are hoping the smaller planes' ability to make faster
    and more numerous trips will make up for the small amount of
    retardant they can carry. One of the tankers can hold up to 3,000
    gallons at a time while the smaller planes can only handle 500 to
    800 gallons of retardant.
    Retardant drops account for nearly 10 percent of fire fighting
    efforts, and officials are nervously awaiting the results of the
    tanker shortage.
    "It's really hard to tell how (the lower number of tankers)
    will affect us until we go through another busy fire season,"
    Raddatz said. "Ask me next year."

    (Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
    Last edited by NJFFSA16; 06-09-2003, 02:18 AM.
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

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