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Bill Gabbert
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Bill Gabbert is the Editor at Wildfire Today and Fire Aviation. www.wildfiretoday.com - www.fireaviation.com

Interview with a Los Angeles Fire Department helicopter pilot

Two Los Angeles Fire Department helicopters prepare to take off on a mission to rescue a hiker in distress. I interviewed one of the pilots that fly multi-mission helicopters for the Los Angeles Fire Department with the goal of obtaining…

Statements from five presidential candidates about wildland fire

Chain saw operator on the North Pole Fire west of Custer, SD March 10, 2015. Photo by Bill Gabbert.In an effort to provide for our readers information about positions the presidential candidates have taken on wildland fire issues, today we…

Jennifer Rabuck selected as NPS Wildland Fire Safety Specialist

Jennifer Rabuck, will be the NPS Wildland Fire Safety Specialist. (NPS Photo)Jennifer Rabuck, a U.S. Forest Service zone fire management officer (FMO) on the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest in Hayward, Wisconsin, has been named as the wildland fire safety specialist for…

BLM plans to build 11,000 miles of fuel breaks

On Friday, February 14 the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released the Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) for Fuel Breaks in the Great Basin. This Final PEIS provides for the construction and maintenance of a system of up to…

Ontario Air Tanker Base was closed after a jettisoned load of retardant landed on homes and children

Air Tanker 135, a C-119, jettisoning 2,000 gallons of fire retardant west of the Ontario Airport, July 29, 1977. Photo by J.D. Davis. When Air Tanker 135 took off from Ontario Airport east of Los Angeles at 5:30 p.m. July…

Fire management and the presidential election

As we have said often here at Wildfire Today, we do not get into politics unless it directly affects firefighters or fire management. And there is nothing more political than a presidential election.However, I ran across an op-ed written by…

Report released for Spring Coulee Fire fatality in Washington

This is presumably the engine involved in the burnover. Photo from the report.A facilitated learning analysis has been released for a burnover and entrapment on the Spring Coulee Fire September 1, 2019 near Okanogan, Washington. A month after suffering burns…

The cost per gallon of dropping retardant

Tanker 12, a BAe-146, drops on the Cave Fire Nov. 26, 2019. Photo by Mike Eliason for Santa Barbara County FD.This article first appeared on Fire AviationOn February 12 I wrote a lengthy article about exclusive use Next Generation 3.0…

How much does it cost to drop retardant on a fire?

Yesterday I wrote a lengthy article about exclusive use Next Generation 3.0 air tanker contracts, the Aerial Firefighting Use and Effectiveness study, air tanker availability since 2000, and the contracts that were awarded recently for Call When Needed CWN large and…

Statistics for the use of air tankers, 2000 through 2019

This chart shows data from 2000 through 2019 for the number of large air tankers (LAT) on U.S. Forest Service Exclusive Use (EU) Contracts, the number of times each year large air tankers were requested by firefighters on a wildfire,…

Some firefighters return from Australia while others are deploying

Three more Incident Management Teams from the United States and Canada have deployed to Victoria, Australia. These teams will continue to support local crews in East Gippsland, positioned in the regional Incident Control Centres and out on the fire ground.…

A fourth Q400MR delivered to Sécurité Civile

Another Dash 8-Q400 MR air tanker has been delivered to Sécurité Civile in France. This is the fourth of six Q400 MR aircraft that the agency is acquiring from Conair, which purchased the planes from the manufacturer, Bombardier. Conair converted…

MIL-8 MTV helicopter filmed in Australia

The video below published January 10, 2020 features a  helicopter operated by Hevilift that was becoming available to help firefighters in Australia. The on scene reporter said the helicopter can carry 5,000 liters (1,300 gallons), which is half of the…

Administration requests 2% to 5% increases in fire budgets

The administration has released its proposed budgets for fiscal year 2021 which begins October 1. If approved by Congress exactly as written, which is unlikely, the wildland fire budgets for the U.S. Forest Service and the four land management agencies…

Why 2,500 liters of retardant was dropped in Australia’s capital city

Wednesday’s accidental drop of 2,500 liters (660 gallons) of fire retardant in downtown Canberra, Australia led to a hazardous material response from the Australian Capital Territory Fire & Rescue. Richard Alder, the General Manager of the National Aerial Firefighting Centre…

Saving a Very Large tree

Firefighters work to save a Messmate in Victoria, Australia. Photo by Forest Fire Management Victoria.Chris Hardman, Chief Fire Officer for Forest Fire Management Victoria, distributed these photos of firefighters working to save a very large tree in Australia. Here is…

Air tanker drops retardant in downtown Canberra, Australia

Retardant drop Feb. 4, 2020 in Canberra, ACT, Australia. Photo by ACT Emergency Services Agency. An air tanker dropped retardant in the city of Canberra, the capital of Australia on February 4. The aircraft was working on the Orroral Valley…

Rain stops some of the bushfires in Australia

Observed precipitation observed during the seven-day period ending February 7. The darkest green color indicates 100 mm (almost 4 inches) of precipitation.Many areas in New South Wales, Victoria, and Queensland have received multiple inches of rain over the last seven…

Have drone will travel

Lakeview Hotshots assisting with a burn operation in Alaska in 2019.On February 6, 2020 the Lakeview Interagency Hotshots posted on Instagram saying that they are “ready for RX [prescribed fire] support in the Southeast.” Currently they have prescribed fire modules…

Australian military establishes kitchen unit at bushfire

Screenshot from the ADF video belowThe Australian Defence Force (ADF) has established at least one mobile kitchen to feed personnel involved in providing assistance at bushfires.Here is the official description of the video, which is below:“The Australian Defence Force (ADF)…

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