Back on August 5th, the Falls Fire started in the foothills, just above the city of Lake Elsinore, CA. Lake Elsinore is located in my county, about 30 miles from my home. As the fuel involved hadn't burned in a long time and the terrain and local weather patterns are known for producing extreme fire behavior, the Forest Service and Cal-Fire jumped on it with both feet. Many local agencies (including my own) assisted by providing mutual aid.
Tanker 910 a very large air tanker, (VLAT) was assigned to the fire during the first evening. Tanker 910 is a converted DC-10 airliner that holds up to 11,600 gallons of fire retardant. At airliner approach speeds with 11,600 capacity and a rapid discharge rate, it can lay down a tremendous line of retardant.
A tremendous line of retardant is exactly what was needed to protect the community of Lakeland Village from the Falls fire. That and Riverside Fire Department Eng. #3.
Tanker 910 makes a pass on the Falls Fire in Lakeland Village, CA.
City of Riverside Engine #3 providing structure protection.
Photo courtesy Riverside FD Unknown photographer
What a great photo, I really, really wish that I could take credit for it. Maybe next time. It had to have been something to see, one doesn't usually see airliners flying down low, next to a mountain and dropping pink/orange stuff onto a fire.
Just another reason to always have a camera with you, even if it is a point and shoot or a camera phone.
Thanks to R, a reader of mine, who sent me a link to an article regarding an engine issue on Tanker 910 a few weeks ago. It is rarely a good thing when a jet engine belches balls of flame. It's not always really bad, but it's never good. Rumor is that the engine was replaced soon after the photos of the flaming engine were taken.
Double thanks to R, as I was unfamiliar with the fireaviation.com blog, the place where the above article was posted. How I was not aware of the site is beyond me. As soon as I get around to updating my blogroll, I am going to be adding a link. Its a very informative site for those of us who like aviation and firefighting.
Thanks for the kind words regarding my recent illness. I'm feeling a lot better and am monitoring the radio again. I probably won't be humping hills following hoselays for a while, but I feel good enough to cover most everything else. It's getting better every day.
Thanks for reading,