Los Alamos Fire - FEMA Asks Russia For Two Giant Water Bombers

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Los Alamos Fire - FEMA Asks Russia For Two Giant Water Bombers 12-1-99

Note - For the US to ask Russia for air tankers, the situation could well be worse than we are being told. The US Forest Service has a large fleet of tankers at its disposal.

MOSCOW (AP) - Two giant Il-76 jet airplanes capable of dumping 44 tons of water are standing by to help fight a fire in the Los Alamos area if needed, Russian officials said Friday. The Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations said it had received an official request from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency for the airplanes, but was awaiting confirmation before ordering the long flight to the United States. The airplanes were "ready to take off at any minute," said ministry official Alexander Zalyotov. The four-engine Il-76MDP can water-bomb an area 500 yards by 100 yards or drop 40 fully equipped firefighters by parachute, according to the reference book Jane's All The World's Aircraft.


From HlavacT@pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca 5-13-00

There was a page up in your site with an observation that two IL-76 water bombers (Russian) might be used to fight the wildfires. This isn't as ominous as it might sound (to Americans raised in the shadow of the cold war) - the Russians have the same forest fire problems we do and have developed equipment as the west have.

There is a large Canadian company that builds aerial tankers (firefighting) conversions of older aircraft - they are Conair at Abbotsford in British Columbia. They have, I believe, DC-06, Grumman Tracker and Fokker conversions. Canadair build the CL-215 (piston engined) and CL-415 (turboprop) water bombers which I believe have been sold internationally.

In BC here we have lots of forest fire fighting action any hot summer. On Vancouver Island are based two Martin Mars (converted) water bombers - these are the largest remaining amphibious aircraft in the world. Pretty close to a 747 landing on it's belly to scoop up water.

I'd imagine the Russians were asked for a number of reasons. Economics could be one of them - the US would be getting a hard service in return for the often unpaid assistance the US has been giving Russia? The IL-76 is supposed to be a pretty handy aircraft, kind of their version of a Hercules. It also makes sense to share equipment like this - no sense everyone having huge investments in equipment not often required (but very handy when it is required). Very often forest firefighting teams are shared between the Canadian Provinces and the northwestern US States.

I haven't seen or heard any media asking the real experts - you can find them in the Forest Service of most States and at the colleges and universities where forestry programs are taught. Almost every forest technician is given extensive training in forest fire related issues - probably a good resource for the media.

-- Flash (flash@flash.hq), May 14, 2000


Los Alamos Fire - FEMA Asks Russia For Two Giant Water Bombers 12-1-99

Did they ask for them last Dec. 1st?

-- justa (pondering in the@smoke.com), May 14, 2000.


Sorry, but this sounds like a bunch of bull. The Ilyushin-76 is an aircraft in about the same size range as a C-141 - certainly not a "giant" by any means. It has a maximum payload of about 77,000 lbs, which is about the same payload as two C-130's. We have literally hundreds of Air Force and ANG C-130's that can be converted to water bombers and many were converted during the 1997 California fire season. In addition, there are water bombers still in California that have not even been sent to New Mexico yet. This doesn't even count the many additional water bombers we can get from Canada through mutual aid.

I'd be amazed to see these aircraft ever show up in the US unless it's for some type of publicity stunt.

-- Jim Cooke (JJCooke@yahoo.com), May 15, 2000.

On the other hand, it's good practice for when the Russians decide to drop "other stuff" on us.

-- (Cyber@Squat.com), May 15, 2000.

Justa, I wondered about the date, too, but it came off the Sightings web site yesterday.

Jim, thanks for the scoop on aircraft. You're no doubt right.

I appreciate the various viewpoints on things that I post. That's why I do it. Even when I post an occasional thing just for grins, it often generates some interesting responses.

-- Flash (flash@flash.hq), May 15, 2000.


That thought occurred to me, too!

-- Flash (flash@flash.hq), May 15, 2000.

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