US military’s firefighting aircraft assist in battling Caldor Fire

Peninsula Premier Admin

For the first time since 2012, all eight of the U.S. military’s fire retardant aircraft are in the same location, bolstering the state’s fleet currently fighting the Caldor Fire.Lt. Col. Ryan Brader with the Air Force Reserves said the last time all eight were in the same place at the same time was the Waldo Canyon Fire in Colorado.”We had all eight MAVs units, C-130’s activated, operating out of Peterson Air Force base,” Brader said.In total, about two dozen military and civilian firefighting aircraft are currently based at McClellan Park. Because of its proximity to the fire, the process of taking off, dropping fire retardant and coming back to land takes about 40 minutes. It then takes about 10 minutes for them to be ready again. Used to create fire lines and slow the spread of fast-moving fires, the amount of retardant used this year is unprecedented, Brader said. Each of these tankers makes several trips a day.Benjamin Berman, a helicopter programmer with Cal Fire, said about 1.8 million gallons of retardant were dropped the month of August from McClellan alone.”I think they’re getting close to 3.8 million in the total fire season,” Berman said.These numbers do not count the contributions from the National Guard’s C-130 aircraft, which as of Monday night have made roughly 800 drops of retardant, totaling up to 2.2 million gallons.Brader said you can typically perform seven to 10 drops from one C-130 aircraft if the fires are close enough. Depending on the type of air tanker, some can do quicker turnarounds. It’s still unknown how long the military air tankers will be based at McClellan but officials told KCRA 3 that they could stay through the end of October.The C-130s work from sunrise to sunset and do not fly overnight.

For the first time since 2012, all eight of the U.S. military’s fire retardant aircraft are in the same location, bolstering the state’s fleet currently fighting the Caldor Fire.

Lt. Col. Ryan Brader with the Air Force Reserves said the last time all eight were in the same place at the same time was the Waldo Canyon Fire in Colorado.

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“We had all eight MAVs units, C-130’s activated, operating out of Peterson Air Force base,” Brader said.

In total, about two dozen military and civilian firefighting aircraft are currently based at McClellan Park. Because of its proximity to the fire, the process of taking off, dropping fire retardant and coming back to land takes about 40 minutes. It then takes about 10 minutes for them to be ready again.

Used to create fire lines and slow the spread of fast-moving fires, the amount of retardant used this year is unprecedented, Brader said. Each of these tankers makes several trips a day.

Benjamin Berman, a helicopter programmer with Cal Fire, said about 1.8 million gallons of retardant were dropped the month of August from McClellan alone.

“I think they’re getting close to 3.8 million in the total fire season,” Berman said.

These numbers do not count the contributions from the National Guard’s C-130 aircraft, which as of Monday night have made roughly 800 drops of retardant, totaling up to 2.2 million gallons.

Brader said you can typically perform seven to 10 drops from one C-130 aircraft if the fires are close enough. Depending on the type of air tanker, some can do quicker turnarounds.

It’s still unknown how long the military air tankers will be based at McClellan but officials told KCRA 3 that they could stay through the end of October.

The C-130s work from sunrise to sunset and do not fly overnight.

Contributed by local news sources

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