California Wildfire first of many – Will firefighters cope?

California Wildfire first of many – Willfirefighters cope?

23June 2005


Firefighters are continuing to try and contain a major summer wildfire in the Mojave Desert, California, that has already destroyed at least six homes and forced many residents to move to safer areas.

The fire was helped by tinder-dry brush that had sprouted during a very wet spring. The Spring weather produced a “grass crop like we haven’t seen in years and years, and that’s what we’ve seen today” said Bill Peters, a spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

 Unfortunately, this “grass crop” can be found all over Southern California and there are fears that this could signal a busy firefighting season.

Russian Waterbomber fighting wildfire

According to Bill Peters the blaze was 10 percent contained and more than 300firefighters were tackling the blaze, with more reinforcements being called in.

In an earlier article we reported that the U.S. aerial firefighting serviceare operating with just one third of their normal ‘large air tanker’ capabilityand this is barely enough for an average summer of wildfires. But if there is anexceptionally high number of fires this year, as these early blazes suggest, thefirefighting forces may not be able to cope with this.

The Ilyushin-76 Russian made Waterbomberhas been offered to assist the U.S. Forest Service, but they insist that noadditional help is needed and that they can “handle the dangers”

The Ilyushin-76 Russian made Waterbomber is by far the most capable craft atdealing with forest fires and is capable of carrying up to 135,000 pounds ofliquid and can be filled and ready for takeoff in 15 minutes. It has thecapability to cover 12 football fields with liquid in 10 seconds.

One of the residents fleeing the fire said about the fate of their home”It’s in God’s hands”, but perhaps with the Russian madeWaterbomber, the people of California wouldn’t have to place so much trust inGod?

Further details on the Waterbomber can be obtained from the following site:


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