TVCS Mini-SAREX 29 June 2002

Fort Collins - Loveland Airport

Thanks to Rick Schein / Black Sheep's Incident Action Pre-Plan Wing Web Page, we had four squadrons participating!  Thompson Valley hosted and invited nearby Boulder and Greeley.  Dakota Ridge, a relatively new squadron, saw our IAPP and asked to attend.  We had extra aircrew spots and two of them attended and got Mission Scanner Trainee training!

After Action Report is on that same web page.  Thanks to Andrew McKenna for a great target with actual wreckage and for taking photos of our north target.  Also to Joel Larner and his crew who spotted an actual fire up by Pingree Park - this fire would have grown much much larger without their quick reporting, and thanks to Mark Sheets who has an inside link to Fire Dispatch for immediate action.

Joel Larner supplied most of the photos and the videos.

Click on a thumbnail to see a full-size picture.  Note full-size is 1M for most of these.

KenSueBill.JPG (1069728 bytes) KenM, Sue and BillS prepare for the general briefing. SueBillKenJerry.JPG (980886 bytes) Mission Base Staff Sue, Bill, Ken and Jerry discuss aircrew assignments. HPIM0056.JPG (1236904 bytes) These first ones were taken at 10:24 when Joel called in the fire.
MissionBaseNW.JPG (1117161 bytes) JohnM, Theo, Brenda... and Dakota Ridge squadron drove up! TedSueKen.JPG (993172 bytes) Ted from Boulder works mission base too. HPIM0058.JPG (864880 bytes) The wind was pretty strong!
MissionBaseSE.JPG (1070604 bytes) Our Cadet Commander JennyN, Unit Commander MikeF... and to the right Boulder flew in. NorthTarget1.JPG (365428 bytes) "Locate a missing aircraft with silver wings and orange fuselage", hey whadya know! HPIM0060.JPG (1130536 bytes) 6 minutes later, the aircrew can see the flames walking uphill, driven by the wind.
JohnM.JPG (1119146 bytes) John Mitchell gives our safety briefing. NorthTarget2.JPG (361666 bytes) Thanks to Andrew McKenna for the photos and Reid & Karen Riedlinger for the use of their land! HPIM0061.JPG (1104437 bytes) Flames still on the ground but getting larger, wind is quite strong.
Brenda.JPG (1131869 bytes) Brenda, our PIO, discusses weather and NOTAMs. HPIM0053.JPG (1160264 bytes) First sighting of the fire by Joel Larner and crew.   Click to see the 1M full-resolution. HPIM0062.JPG (1322156 bytes) Still only 10:30 and a tree base is burning.
BillS.JPG (1134410 bytes) Bill does a great Comm briefing. HPIM0055.JPG (1295909 bytes) Flames visible on the ground but not yet in the trees. HPIM0064.JPG (1257770 bytes) Final shot, more smoke!

Here's an mpeg video of KenM assigning aircrews during briefing (4 Meg)

Here's an mpeg of scrolling around mission base to see everyone during briefing (5 Meg)


Details on the fire from Joel:

The single engine tanker was departing as we entered the pattern which was 10:55. So he probably got to the fire by 11:15. I went out to talk to the guys mixing the slurry as we left mission base. They said by the time the tanker got there, the fire had exploded and was beyond the capability of the helicopter and the single engine tanker. They had requested heavy tanker support. So in 45 minutes it went from what you see here in the pictures to a fire beyond their capabilities. 

This fire was on the front page of the Coloradoan on Sunday morning. It is named the "Fish Creek Fire". By Sunday night it had burned 40 acres and had numerous crews on it. Due to the remoteness of the terrain, getting crews in was very difficult (we explained that to Mark Sheets over the radio that it was very remote with no easy access).


These were taken July 19 by Joel Larner, after the fire had been out for a few weeks.   He says:

I took some pictures of the Fish Creek fire now that it is out during the checkride with John. Thought these might be interesting to post these along with the origin fires so people can see what it did and what 30-40 acres burned looks like.

The origin was on the left side of these pictures. It burned up over the ridge in the direction the wind was blowing. You can see a lot of spotting how the fire jumped.

Click on a thumbnail to see a full-size picture.  Note full-size is 1Meg.

HPIM0099.JPG (1744396 bytes) The origin was on the left side and it burned south to north (left to right in this shot). HPIM0101.JPG (1357902 bytes)  Notice the spotting as the fire jumped.
HPIM0100.JPG (368761 bytes) See how it burned uphill, and even over top of the ridge. HPIM0103.JPG (1016506 bytes) This was a 30-40 acre fire. 

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