With all the fires around the globe in 2010 sometimes it is great to see that here in the United States we are indeed on the leading edge of aerial firefighting technologies. We have a large commercial airliner aircraft which has been converted into fire bombers, and they have been doing a spectacular job. Not long ago, I spoke with an acquaintance from another country who told me of his work in Europe with aerial firefighting as part of his military service.
In fact, I lamented; “great to see your experience with Aerial Fire Fighting, we have some truly incredible folks working on that here in the US.” Myself, well, I like in California, and out in the Western US we've had a really tough time with fire seasons, specifically after El Nino's. Why you ask? Well, due to the fact that El Nino causes lots of rain, so, growing the sage brush and vegetation, then in the hot summer it dries out, and we get the hot winds; they are called “Santa Ana Winds” and along with a little lighting, human stupidity, or criminal arsonist, we get those huge fires you've watched in the World News.
Our think tank discusses aerial fire-fighting quite a bit, and as a pilot I have always been interested in the topic, especially as I watch the horrific fires going on in places like Russia, and their use of very large aircraft to put out these fires. Right now it looks like we are not the only ones out here in CA with the problem. Portugal, Spain, Russia, all dealing with it.
Then there are all the other issues surrounding such catastrophic wildfires. Russia for instance, has just banned wheat exports; that's going to take the world wheat prices over $ 800 a bushel, but they have no choice due to droughts and fires. Human hunger is going to be a problem, and fires make it worse exacerbating the problems.
It seems that massive airpower is very much needed to fight fires, and it is a good thing we have this technology here in the US. Please consider all this.