Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Lightning Strike Above - Day 2.

   I went out this morning first thing and looked up the mountain behind to see how that lightning strike caused fire had fared overnight. There was some smoke way up there and it wasn't too much longer before I heard a helicopter coming. A larger crew and more specialized machine arrived this morning than had come out yesterday.

The response team had arrived early, they all piled into the helicopter and through the binoculars I watched as they all repelled down an 80 foot line into the trees up on the distant ridge.

The machine came back for a sling-load of fire-fighting gear and dropped it up there for the guys, and gals.

First chance I had I went down to check out the helicopter and bother the flight-crew, Jeff and Andrew while they had a little down-time. Wildcat Helicopters operates a fleet of these Bell 212 twin-engine machines all set-up for fire-fighting and search and rescue, and she was a pretty neat bird.
They can lower the flexible intake and dangle it in a water source and fill the belly tank in 30 seconds. They can dump or spray the load, and also drop a hose down to re-fill the portable water tanks the ground crew use up there. They picked up an initial load from the river to take up, then use some small lake up in the alpine the pilot yesterday located.
This winch comes in pretty handy I bet.

At the end of the day they began to bring equipment down off the mountain so I knew they had a handle on things up there.

No more smoke.
The ground crew walked down part way to a tight landing area where the helicopter picked them up.

A few of the guys stopped in on the way out to thank me for the use of the staging area. I didn't get their names, I'm so bad with names, but thanks guys, and girls too, that were up there in the heat and smoke and dirt and grime to get it put out.

I didn't tell them I spent the whole day relaxing on the bench by a cool creek enjoying the air-show.

There has been several times over the years the area has been used for a fire staging area.
Heres a major one from 2005.

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