AirSource Helps USA NorthWest Wildfires

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AirSource Helps USA NorthWest Wildfires

Postby AS380 Mark Richards » 29 Aug 2015 02:03

Active wildfires across the North West of the USA have scorched almost 1.7 million acres (688,000 hectares) of land, roughly the size of Delaware, stretching resources thin and prompting a rare call for reinforcements from the U.S. military and as far afield as New Zealand and Australia.

Oregon and Washington state are experiencing the worst conflagrations, combining to account for nearly two-thirds of the total, according to the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho.

Thirteen firefighters have died so far this year, including three whose vehicle was consumed by flames when they crashed en route to a massive Washington state wildfire.

Four more were also injured in that accident at the so-called Okanogan Complex fire, which has scorched 302,224 acres (122,306 hectares) of brush and dry timber in rural, rugged terrain in the state's northeast.

The cluster of fires has been burning for nearly two weeks and managed to grow by about 14,500 acres (5,900 hectares) since Thursday, according to the interagency InciWeb website. The fires were 12 percent contained as of Friday morning, down from 17 percent on Thursday.

Firefighters there and across the West have faced high temperatures, low humidity and gusty winds as well as thick smoke that has blanketed much of the region over the past week and prompted officials to issue health warnings.

AirSource have been called on to provide water bombing duties using a Sikorsky Erickson Sky Crane and Bell 212 helicopters in support to the fire crews working on the ground. Nearly 3,700 firefighters are on the scene to fight the blaze.

AirSource are also providing pilots for the DC-10 tanker which is flying low level passes dropping fire retardent on the fire lines.

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AS380 Mark Richards
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