Thursday, September 4, 2008

Wildfire news, September 4

San Diego's new helicopter

The City of San Diego introduced their new firefighting helicopter to the public yesterday. Copter 2, a Bell 412, is the city's second helicopter. From the San Diego Union-Tribune:
The city is paying for the nearly $11 million helicopter with a 15-year lease-purchase agreement, financed by Koch Financial Corp., said Deputy Fire Chief Brian Fennessy. The helicopter will cost $15.9 million over the term of the lease.

The Bell 412 is quieter, carries more weight, and is faster than Copter 1, the city's Bell 212, Fennessy said. He said Copter 2 can be flown with instruments in zero visibility, while Copter 1 requires some visibility to be operated.

According to the city, Copter 2 can drop 375 gallons of water. While hovering over a lake, a pilot can refill its drop tank in 17 seconds.
File photo of an LA County Bell 412

Fire quiz

The Rhinelander Daily News web site has a "Fire prevention quiz". Some of the questions are Wisconsin-specific, but see how many you can answer correctly.

Last fire of the season in western Colorado?

There is a good chance the reporter from the Citizen Telegram in Rifle, Colorado misquoted or misinterpreed what they were told by Chris Faronetti from the Grand Junction coordination center. The headline of the article is: "Porcupine Fire could be last one of fire season."
The smoke that rose high into the air outside Rifle at the end of last month should be the last time residents have to worry about a large wildfire for this year, according to federal and local fire officials.

With the arrival of September, cooler weather and more predicted moisture mean firefighters shouldn’t have to rush out again, said Chris Faronetti, operations specialist for the Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire Management Unit in Grand Junction.

The group sends firefighters to wildfires across more than 4.5 million acres of federal land, oriented along the Interstate 70 corridor from the Continental Divide on the east to the Utah state line on the west.

“This pretty much puts us in fall conditions,” Faronetti said. “We’re going to recommend to the counties pretty soon that they lift any fire restrictions they might have in place.”

The less likelihood of a major fire comes after 17 lightning stike-caused fires of at least 150 acres in Northwestern Colorado during the last week of August, according to Faronetti.

“We took the stance of hitting ‘em hard with retardant drops so we wouldn’t have any large fires,” he said.

The Porcupine Fire outside Rifle burned 130 acres but no buildings at the end of August. It took several days to completely extinguish.

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