Tankers fight the Camino Fire, August 15, 2002


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A small fire broke out on the crest of the Santa Ynex Mountains above Santa Barbara on Thursday, August 15, 2002. I drove up to East Camino Cielo to photograph the air tankers that were fighting it.

I stopped at the first peak where I could see tanker #161, a Douglas C-54G, circling the fire about a mile farther on. I stopped and shot pictures as it made a retardent drop.

C-54G N82FA, Tanker #161 drops retardent on the Camino Fire C-54G N82FA, Tanker #161 drops retardent on the Camino Fire.

C-54G N82FA, Tanker #161 drops retardent on the Camino Fire Multiple exposure of C-54G N82FA, Tanker #161 dropping retardent on the Camino Fire. (Four images of the same C-54G tanker on a single pass over the fire.)

I parked just about 1/4 mile from the fire. There were two Bell 212s and a Sikorsky S-61N dropping water on the fire. A North American Turbo Commander, Air Attack circled overhead. Later a second Air Attack, this one a Beech Baron showed up, presaging the arrival of a Grumman S-2 Tracker, tanker #75 and the return of tanker #161. They made practice approaches and when they dropped their retardent, they were coming directly toward my shooting position.

I monitored the Forest Service frequencies on the scanner and lstened in on the communication between the pilots and the ground crews. At one point the ground crew referred to a fire near the big rock. The pilot responded with, "There's about 5,000 rocks on this mountain."

Sikorsky S-61N, N264F over the Camino Fire Sikorsky S-61N, N264F over the Camino Fire. It is operated by Pacific Heli Tours of Maui. N264F has previously carried the registrations G-BGWL, C-GMQF, N91047, C-GMQF, N611RM, and C-FMAG.

Link to the Coulson Group page about this Sikorsky S-61N.

Bell 212, N508EH drops water on the Camino Fire Bell 212, N508EH drops water on the Camino Fire. It was at just the right angle from the sun to reveal the colors of the rainbow. Red fire retardent has stained the chapparal in the foreground.

Bell 212 N911KW over the Camino Fire Bell 212 N911KW over the Camino Fire. It is operated by Rogers Helicopters of Fresno, California.

Bell 212 N911KW drops water on the Camino Fire Bell 212 N911KW drops water on the Camino Fire.

Rogers Helicopters web site

Bell 212 N508EH drops water on the Camino Fire Bell 212 N508EH drops water on the Camino Fire. It is operated by Era Aviation of Anchorage, Alaska.

Era Aviation helicopter services web page

Two years ago N508EH made an emergency landing at John Day Airport in Oregon after sucking a compressor blade through the engine.

Bell 212 N508EH over the Camino Fire Bell 212 N508EH over the Camino Fire.

Sikorsky S-61N, N264F drops water on the Camino Fire Sikorsky S-61N, N264F drops water on the Camino Fire.

Grumman S-2 Tracker, N420DF, Tanker #75 over the Camino Fire Grumman S-2 Tracker, N420DF, Tanker #75 over the Camino Fire.

Air Attack Beech 65 Queen Air, N7059H leads Grumman S-2 Tracker, N420DF, Tanker #75 over the Camino Fire Air Attack Beech 65 Queen Air, N7059H leads Grumman S-2 Tracker, N420DF, Tanker #75 over the Camino Fire.

S-2, N420DF, Tanker 75 drops retardent on the Camino Fire S-2, N420DF, Tanker 75 drops retardent on the Camino Fire.

S-2, N420DF, Tanker 75 drops retardent on the Camino Fire Multiple exposure of S-2, N420DF, Tanker 75 dropping retardent on the Camino Fire. (Two images of the same S-2 tanker and one image of the Beechcraft Queen Air from a single pass over the fire.)

Bell 212, N508EH over the Camino Fire Bell 212, N508EH over the Camino Fire.

Sikorsky S-61N N264F drops water on the Camino Fire Sikorsky S-61N N264F drops water on the Camino Fire.

Air Attack Beech 65 Queen Air, N7059H leads Douglas C-54G N82FA, Tanker #161 over the Camino Fire Air Attack Beech 65 Queen Air, N7059H leads Douglas C-54G N82FA, Tanker #161 over the Camino Fire.

Douglas C-54G N82FA, Tanker #161 over the Camino Fire Douglas C-54G N82FA, Tanker #161 over the Camino Fire

Air Attack Beech 65 Queen Air, N7059H leads Douglas C-54G N82FA, Tanker #161 over the Camino Fire Multiple exposure of Air Attack Beech 65 Queen Air, N7059H leading Douglas C-54G N82FA, Tanker #161 over the Camino Fire. There was a strong crosswind across the ridge. (Three sets of images of the Queen Air and the C-54G on a single practice pass over the fire.)

C-54G, N82FA, tanker 161 drops retardent on the Camino Fire C-54G, N82FA, tanker 161 drops retardent on the Camino Fire.

C-54G, N82FA, tanker 161 drops retardent on the Camino Fire Multiple exposure of C-54G, N82FA, tanker 161 dropping retardent on the Camino Fire. (Three images of the same C-54G tanker and one image of the Queen Air from a single pass over the fire.)

Douglas C-54G N82FA, Tanker #161 over the Camino Fire Douglas C-54G N82FA, Tanker #161 over the Camino Fire

Tankers Spotted at Camino Fire, August 15, 2002

Number Type Registration Operator Home Base c/n military serial
  Bell 212 N911KW Rogers Helicopters   528  
  Bell 212 N508EH Era Aviation   30908  
  Sikorsky S-61N N264F Pacific Arroyo Grande 61821  
75 S-2 N420DF CDF Paso Robles    
161 C-54G N82FA AeroFlite Porterville 35960 45-507

More Tanker Photos

Aerial tankers Aerial tankers


Visit the web site of the Aerial Firefighting Industry Association

Associated Airtanker Pilots web site Visit the web site of the Associated Airtanker Pilots

The Cleveland National Forest web site provides specifications for the different types of aerial tankers.



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Aerial Tankers

2018 Calendar

You can buy a 2018 Calendar featuring my photographs of aerial tankers in flight and fighting fires.

Lockett Books Calendar Catalog: Aerial Tankers

Lockett Books Calendar Catalog: Aerial Tankers

A dozen photos of aerial tankers:

Boeing B-17F Flying Fortress N17W Tanker 04, Santa Barbara, September 12, 1979
Douglas DC-7C N5903 Tanker 35, Santa Barbara, November 28, 1980
Douglas C-54E Cargomaster N460WA Tanker 151, Santa Ynez Valley, July 30, 1990
California Air National Guard C-130E Tanker 6, NAWS Pt. Mugu, April 25, 1998
Douglas C-54E Cargomaster N8502G Tanker 65, Santa Barbara Airport, May 5, 2004
Evergreen S-64E Skycrane N6979R Tanker 707, Santa Ynez Valley, May 7, 2004
Evergreen International Boeing 747 Supertanker, San Bernardino, May 31, 2006
Grumman S-2T Tracker N439DF Tanker 74, Santa Barbara Airport, June 19, 2006
Lockheed P2V-5 N1386C Tanker 44, Santa Barbara, June 19, 2006
Coulson Flying Tankers Martin JRM Hawaii Mars, Lake Elsinore, October 27, 2007
McDonnell-Douglas DC-10-30 10 Tanker Air Carrier Tanker 911, Mesa, Arizona 2011
BAE-146-200A N146FF Tanker 40, Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, June 15, 2012

Buy my Aerial Tankers: 2018 Calendar at Lulu! Put a copy of the Aerial Tankers: 2018 Calendar in your Lulu.com shopping cart for $14.95.

Firefighting Aircraft of CAL FIRE

2018 Calendar

You can buy a 2018 calendar featuring my photographs of California Department of Forestry fire fighting aircraft.

Lockett Books Calendar Catalog: CAL FIRE

Lockett Books Calendar Catalog: CAL FIRE

This calendar is dedicated to the men and women of CAL FIRE and honors those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the citizens of California.

A dozen photos of California Department of Forestry fire fighting aircraft:

Grumman US-2A Tracker N416DF Tanker 96, Santa Barbara, September 13, 1979
Grumman F7F-3 Tigercat NX7195C Tanker E40, Beale Air Force Base, May 31, 1980
Grumman TS-2A Tracker N405DF Tanker 72, Santa Barbara, October 16, 1985
Grumman TS-2A Tracker N406DF Tanker 73, Santa Barbara, July 19, 1990
Grumman TS-2A Tracker N420DF Tanker 75, Santa Ynez Mountains. August 15, 2002
Bell UH-1H Huey N805EH, Santa Ynez Mountains. August 15, 2002
McDonnell-Douglas DC-10-10 Tanker 910, Victorville, June 17, 2005
Grumman S-2T Tracker N439DF Tanker 74, Santa Barbara, June 19, 2006
Grumman S-2T Tracker N436DF Tanker 76, Santa Barbara, June 19, 2006
North American OV-10A Bronco N403DF, Santa Barbara, June 19, 2006
Grumman S-2T Tracker N439DF Tanker 74, Santa Barbara, June 25, 2006
McDonnell-Douglas DC-10-10 Tanker 911, Phoenix-Mesa Gateway, June 11, 2011

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Day Fire Tankers at Santa Barbara

2018 calendar

You can buy a 2018 calendar featuring my photographs of Day Fire Tankers at Santa Barbara.

Lockett Books Calendar Catalog: Day Fire Tankers at Santa Barbara

Lockett Books Calendar Catalog: Day Fire Tankers at Santa Barbara

Aerial tankers fought the Day Fire from the Santa Barbara Air Attack Station for ten days, from Monday, September 18 to Wednesday September 27. Three Lockheed P-2 Neptunes and four Lockheed P-3 Orions visited the Air Attack Station during the fire. This calendar includes a dozen photos of those tankers:

Neptune Aviation Lockheed SP-2H Neptune, N4235T Tanker 09
Neptune Aviation Lockheed P2V-5F Neptune, N96264 Tanker 12
Neptune Aviation Lockheed P2V-5 Neptune, N1386C Tanker 44
Aero Union Lockheed P-3A-25 Orion, N920AU Tanker 20
Aero Union Lockheed P-3A-45 Orion, N921AU Tanker 21
Aero Union Lockheed P-3A-45 Orion, N922AU Tanker 22
Aero Union Lockheed P-3A-40 Orion, N925AU Tanker 25

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