Montana Outdoors

July 16, 2007

It has begun.

Wildfire season has now started for this year in Western Montana. So far there have been only a few small fires near here, but it’s just a matter of time before a big one comes along because the forest is extremely dry. Our skies already contain a lot of smoke from the large fires in Idaho.

This big helicopter with a 750 gallon water bucket is flying out of our local DNRC headquarters today , I think to a small fire about 10 air miles to the southeast, and a smaller one was trailing its bucket this morning headed in a north-westerly direction.

For those who are not familiar with this fire fighting resource, these big buckets are carried below the aircraft suspended on a cable. They can fill the bucket from a river or lake or sometimes set up a reservoir for them that is kept supplied by tanker truck. They will fly many trips a day, each time releasing the water or slurry over one of the hot spots of the fire. They are surprisingly effective.

Helicopter on fire duty

Helicopter on fire duty

Helicopter on fire duty

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