LIFE'S BETTER IN THE MOUNTAINS

Monday, June 11, 2012

Airborne Fire Fighting Runs


We are not near any major airports and rarely see airplanes in our skies.  One week last month we were treated to the sight of many planes in the air.  The NC Air National Guard held training sessions in their job of assisting with wildfires in the mountains.

Military pilots flew at least fourteen flights per day, carrying water to drop on target areas in Pisgah National Forest.  Almost all of them flew directly over our community.  What a treat to hear and see the huge planes, especially when the maneuvers were practice.  (They are doing the real thing for the fires still burning in the west.)

The planes used are Lockheed C-130 originally used for transport of troops and equipment and for medical evacuation.  Some of the planes were converted to airtankers for firefighting.  They carry water or fire-retardant chemicals.  They flew low over our house but we got only a glimpse because of the trees.

So I went down to the lake to see if I could see some of them coming in.  I saw one coming before I parked my car.  I quickly grabbed my camera for a few quick photographs as the plane was already passing by.


The camera caught the props looking quite still but they were turning.




And it quickly flew away, off to Pisgah National Forest to dump its load.



This photograph from Wikipedia shows the C 130 dropping retardant.



The sight of so many of the planes during the week of training was wonderful.  Especially since we knew they were only practice runs.  Living in the mountains we always have a fear of wildfires.  It's comforting to know that our military is ready to help us when we need it.

Our thoughts are with those in harm's way right now because of fires.  Especially for those in Colorado, New Mexico, and Wyoming.

21 comments:

Cheryl said...

It is always good to know you have support when needed. I understand the high risk when you live in the mountains.

We are on flood alert at the moment.....low lying areas have different issues :)
Floods in Wales have left some people homeless tonight....my heart goes out to each and everyone of them.

PS (PSanafter-thought) said...

We were canoeing in the Boundary Waters Wilderness one time when these planes were flying overhead for real. They were following the long narrow lake we were camping along to go east, then following another lake back to where they picked up their load of water. Fire fighting in a Wilderness is difficult.

Barbara Rogers said...

Good to hear about the training, and see the planes not actually in the fire fight. My youngest used to be a wildland firefighter, and he never told me all the details. I could imagine them well enough. Those women and men certainly deserve commendations.

Carolina Linthead said...

Beautiful pictures...my uncle was a Marine who went on to become a gifted mechanic after active duty. He served in Reserves for many years, while working at a garage in the Charlotte area. Finally, he got a job as a mechanic with the Charlotte Fire Dept. Whether it is in the wilderness or in the suburbs or downtown, firefighters lay it on the line in ways that are hard to imagine. His job took him into the thick of things, sometimes freezing cold, many times in extreme heat, and always close to the action because he had to maintain equipment on location to keep the pumps pumping. He died last summer, and at the funeral one of his fellow firefighters made a point of telling my father what a great job his little brother had done. My heart goes out to the men and women in harm's way, as well, and to the victims of fires great and small.

Carolina Linthead said...

I should point out that my uncle died of cancer, not as a result of fire. More as a result of smoking :-(

NanaNor's said...

Hi there, These are probably the planes that came here to Colorado today-I know they were reserve planes. I'm just so thankful we can get federal help for the fire; especially since we always have so much wind each afternoon.
Hope you have a great day!
Hugs, Noreen

Ginnie said...

I'm glad they were practicing and will be helping to control the fires, but I can't say that I like to hear them overhead.
Of course that is because I live next door to Ft. Bragg and their maneuvers go on two or three times a week. They fly so low over my house and are so loud that I actually find myself ducking altho I am inside the house.

George said...

You got some good pictures of the planes flying over the lake. I can only imagine how dangerous those fire-fighting flights can be, so it's good that training is available in Pisgah.

Vicki Lane said...

Thank heaven for firefighters -- airborne and otherwise.

Rudee said...

It was Michigan's National Guard that really made a big difference in saving so much acreage in our recent forest fire. They're heroes to us.

Ms. A said...

It's comforting to know they are there when needed. Glad they were only training.

Have you ever seen the movie "Always" with Richard Dreyfus, Holly Hunter and John Goodman? I thought of it when I read your post. I love that movie!

Arkansas Patti said...

Those men are so brave for firefighting by air has proven to be costly in lives. What would we do with out them.

~Kim at Golden Pines~ said...

We have a good friend that is a 'smoke jumper' and these people who fight these fires are in a class all their own, and I greatly admire them--I also pray for those who have lost everything that they find peace and safety.

Taradharma said...

I know several firefighters - they are a unique breed. Thank goodness for them and their courage. It's a hard life, but if you love it, well, it's a very gratifying one.

Wayfarin' Stranger said...

Be so glad they were only training runs. Also be glad your ANG pilots are getting such training; it really sharpens their skills, and not just for fighting forest fires. The best pilot I ever flew with was an ex Forest Service pilot.

Wayfarin' Stranger said...

Be so glad they were only training runs. Also be glad your ANG pilots are getting such training; it really sharpens their skills, and not just for fighting forest fires. The best pilot I ever flew with was an ex Forest Service pilot.

Busy Bee Suz said...

They are beautiful...and I'm so happy they were only training. My heart goes out to those affected by the fires....be it humans and critters.
xo

KB said...

I wonder if those planes are here now. There are an incredible number of planes from all over the country (15, I think) fighting the fire.

I am convinced that our state needs to buy its own stable of tankers so that we don't have to wait for them to arrive from long distances when a fire starts. I'd pay more taxes for that... but given the political climate these days, that'll never happen.

Great photos, by the way!

Madi and Mom said...

Gorgeous shots!! It still amazes me that something that big is so graceful looking
Hugs Madi and Mom

Janet, The Queen of Seaford said...

Fun show, love seeing military planes. We used to live right by Langley Air Force Base in Virginia and got used to the planes (all kinds). Didn't realize how much I missed it until this past weekend we were back in VA and heard some of the jets overhead. We are certainly out in the boonies here.

Cicero Sings said...

Wild fires are always a concern in the back of our minds here. So glad for our recent rains as the forest was really dry just prior. The airport is just behind and above me and during fire season planes and helicopters take off regularly ... especially if the fires are within our radius.