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Fighting Wildfires in California & Around the World with Air Cranes

According to an article recently published in the Sacramento Bee this week, California may not be “out of the woods” for wildfires. According to writers Ryan Sabalow and Dale Kasler in their article “Don’t get fooled by the calendar. October is deadly month for fires in California,” wildfires continue to be a problem as their remnants are continuing to glow in areas situated in Northern California and a combination of high winds and triple-digit temperatures could continue to be catalysts for wildfires to kick off causing emergency officials to sound alarms in Southern California.

The article states that generally, people assume as cooler temps start to creep into the state and conditions get wetter, the chances for wildfires to dissipate increases, causing numerous people to assume the threat to their life and property has decreased (Sabalow and Kasler, 2017). This is in fact not true and Californians should continue to be vigilant in their precautionary efforts and stay abreast of what emergency officials and the National Weather Service is saying.

This brings to mind a lot of questions, like how do firefighters fight wildfires effectively? If the fires continue to burn and smolder, and dry and windy conditions persist, isn’t fighting fires on the ground an extremely dangerous prospect? What other options are available to serve the needs of those fighting the fires and the populace in general? One Idea that has been used in California as well as numerous other states and in countries throughout the world is to utilize an air crane.

Generally, Air Cranes are used in firefighting, construction and within the timber harvesting industries. They are heavy lift-helicopters that can switch the equipment they use to serve multiple industries and businesses alike. A great deal of the time is spent in service to a government entity like the National Forestry Service for the purpose of extinguishing and containing the effects of wildfires. During firefighting efforts, the air crane retrieves thousands of gallons of water from a lake, ocean, or another water source, and drops it in the areas in which the fire fighting is being concentrated. These helicopter cranes can be in the air for up to 15 minutes or so at a time and after dumping its liquid load can return to the water source and scoop up or use a hose to suction more water to return. Additional information about air cranes is that they have fuel tanks that hold upward to 1300 gallons of fuel, the Erickson Air Crane has a front mounted water cannon that can shoot water up to 300 feet, flight speeds can slightly exceed 100 miles per hour, and in recent years air cranes have served to help fires in every corner of the world, from Chile, Australia, the aforementioned California wildfires and in Greece.

As added bonuses to their amazing fire fighting endeavors, air cranes have been put to good use in a variety of industries. Within the timber harvesting industry, air cranes have the capability of removing timber with minimal if any damage to adjacent trees by lifting the timber straight up causing little damage to the forest floor. This is imperative as efforts in clean up, especially after wildfires, may include trees that have sustained fire damage after the fire has been extinguished. Removal that allows for the surrounding foliage to remain intact is ideal for future growth making the possibility of forestry flourishing following the devastating effects of a wildfire a certainty. Furthermore, air cranes seemingly costly to use actually provide a money- saving option as they eliminate the need for road construction and reduce costs due to falling trees and timber extractions using trucks.

As was mentioned before, there are many countries, cities, communities that make excellent use of air cranes in the fight against the spread of wildfires, but they are also used in various other endeavors. They are used in construction to lift heavy equipment and place large pipes for installations. Like in the case of HVAC installation on top of tall buildings and skyscrapers, and placing or removing large portions or pieces of architecture from atop buildings. These are costly endeavors with respect to time and money. In numerous cases, air cranes have served to cut construction costs and help with completing tasks within a fraction of the time helping to eliminate overspending and staying within time constraints.

In the oil and gas industries, air cranes serve to once again help protect the environment by providing safe delivery of equipment, people, and product to numerous locations and to and from off oil rigs. These heavy-lift helicopters have been used to transport large pieces of machinery like drills and components to ensure everything is in working order and deadlines don’t go unmet.

As a result of these cumulative endeavors: efforts to bring to a halt the widespread devastation to property and people during wildfires and within the timber, construction and utility industries, it’s safe to say heavy-lift helicopters or air cranes are the superheroes from the realm of aerial application.



This post first appeared on Flydar Helicopter Services, please read the originial post: here

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Fighting Wildfires in California & Around the World with Air Cranes

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