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10 October 2017



Dr.R.. It's a whole different world when the Sun goes down.
From power lines, to a lone snag tree on a hilltop.
Even the expense of the best night vision hardware, it isn't worth the risk.
There may be some pilots out there with titanium balls, but they probably wind up in a smoking hole in the ground sooner than later.
There is no telling where the ground is,when everything is the same color of black.
Even construction at night brings on a new set of challenges. Usually we had to fix what we did in the dark, the next day.

Barry Pruett

Let me tell you George, I don’t know the rationale about night ops. What I do know is that the police and fire in his community are outstanding. We are grateful. They saved our house. The reality sunk in at 530a when we drove over Deer Creek and saw the fire raging on the next ridge. It was so close you could see the fire trucks which were right on top of the fire. Spectacular work by the firemen. This event is what they train for and they were awesome.

Once day light hit they stopped that fire dead in its tracks. The 747 came in and dropped near Deer Creek and it was done. We are grateful for our community with so many offers to house us while we are homeless. And The Union. Shame on those who continually bash The Union. Yubanet was not working well yesterday likely because of the bandwidth being exceeded. The site often times would not load. The Union had constant live coverage (their website, Facebook, Twitter) that was amazing and so reassuring to those of us who were desperate for information as we feared the loss of everything.

Information wise. The Union won the day. Hands down. Thank you to our police and fire. You are the best.

George Rebane

Gentlemen - I do believe you are missing my point. I am NOT impugning the professionalism and courage of the fire fighters, on the ground and in the air. And I do know about the "different world" after sundown. Please reread my commentary. I am simply inviting a discussion of the policy given today's technology.


Glad to hear your home is safe Barry. Yes, we have a good fire dept.
I was having flashbacks of the 49er fire. That was the "big one" for me. I had my fill that week.
Today, we have better tools and aircraft. Even the retardant is WAY better.
Glad to hear your safe. Keep it that way... (now to unload the bugout buggy.)

Bill Tozer

Well, according to the good tweekers in North San Juan, Sheriff Royal ordered the dumping of fire retardant on pot grows that were not harm’s way. Like, the good growers are experts on how to fight approaching flames.. Just imagine what the conspiracy theorists would say if our fine men and women who save our homes and property fought wildfires at night. Hmmm. I see a Midnight Chemrail conspiracy a’brewing. Fire retardant is used on illegal grows!! And legal ones!

FYI. Tiny point, barely worth mentioning. I once lived in a fine abode (rented) on a hilltop on La Tuna Canyon. Great view, could see out over the San Gabriel valley to the east, San Fernando Valley (parts) to the west, 5,000 foot Mt. Lukens two miles to the north, and the back side (uninhabited) of the Verdugo Range within a mile. Had deer, coyotes, and critters in my back yard on a daily basis. All the while the fine abode was considered living in the Los Angeles city limits.
With that said, it’s called La Tuna Canyon. Tiny point. La Tuna Cyn, not Tuna Cyn. Don’t need Jeffried to get his thong all soiled, ad if he needed another reason to do so, but I digress. Even a local La Tuna Cyn resident was called “The Tuna” for some unknown reason. She was puzzled by her nickname.
In the grand scheme of things, Tuna Cyn or La Tuna Cyn a very very tiny point. :)

If they ground all aircraft because some idiot is flying a drone with a camera attached in broad daylight, then I can’t imagine our air defense flying at night. Maybe they could fight fires on BLM/Federal Forests, or State Park lands at night.....far from civilization...the growers can hid under tarps or trash bags.

Barry Pruett

I am sorry George. I would never think that would be your intent. I am just commenting on what happened. We discussed the night ops issue last night. We are grateful for the firemen and they risk so much for us. We thought might it would be too dangerous. Thank you the insightful question.

As far as The Union’s number one critic. He is bitter for having been fired from the paper. All the other “experience” is negated by the lack of an ability to work with others. Pelline is a bitter asshole who can’t get over being fired from The Union. Fact one. Our local fire and police are the best. Fact two. The Union won the day yesterday hands down. Fact three. Pelline is still a tool.


Ya' got me all wrong Dr.R. Flying these hills at dark is bad enough, then add smoke to the mix,,, OH brother...

I recall this was talked about by calfire and the gov. a while ago, about lifting the "restrictions" of night flight. Something was mentioned about "it's up to the pilots"...
Now they are limited to about 10 hours in 24 of seat time.
At least that's what I have learned from listening to the scanner.

They still fly at night in the movies. (watch the movie "Always"..)


Well, according to the good tweekers in North San Juan, Sheriff Royal ordered the dumping of fire retardant on pot grows that were not harm’s way. Like, the good growers are experts on how to fight approaching flames.. Just imagine what the conspiracy theorists would say if our fine men and women who save our homes and property fought wildfires at night. Hmmm. I see a Midnight Chemrail conspiracy a’brewing. Fire retardant is used on illegal grows!! And legal ones!

This is a problem for pot growers?

The material is called Phos-Chek. It is primarily made up of 85% water, 10% fertilizer (ammonia phosphate and sulfate ion), and 5% minor ingredients (iron oxide for color, clay or bentonite).



Well I'm shocked….



Barry Pruett

In addition to your commentary George, being that pilot safety is such a concern, why not take one step farther and to the retardant drops with drones?

George Rebane

BarryP 1206pm - Yes indeed, drone air attacks would not be that far off. All, and I do mean ALL, the technology exists for that now. It's a matter of money and politics. BTW, pilot air time is not a consideration in this discussion. We can hire and train more pilots (until the drones). Again it's a matter of money and politics.

PS. I'm too busy to take off the ad hominem exchanges with Mr Pelline. Later, because they don't belong here. His opinions about air attack policy are.

Barry Pruett

GeorgeR 100pm - We could also avoid a significant portion of the need to put out the fires in the first place by allowing removal of the fuel that makes them so large (maybe by drones as well)...but that is another discussion. Lol. Headed home fellas. Evacuation is no longer mandatory PER THE UNION. Love our community newspaper and its current employees.

George Rebane

BarryP 205pm - We are thankful that you have a home to return to; we have been in that situation, and the emotional lead-up with all the uncertainty was heartrending (see link in Update above).

BillT 1121am – La Tuna Canyon was the original and ‘ancient’ name for Tuna Canyon, which it was already renamed when we bought our land on Saddle Peak Road in 1976. You must have lived there a very long time ago Mr Tozer.


What does Pruett's 11:22 have to do with air attack policy? "As far as The Union’s number one critic." ...
This is like a clown college.

George Rebane

JeffP 237pm - It has a distant relationship to wildfires and their reporting. But in the end it's just another vagary in my editorial policy since you are the established critic extraordinaire of The Union, your former employer and our local paper that has done a great job keeping us up to date on the local fires (I understand that Pascal's YubaNet was a bit swamped by the many hits it got. She also has done an outstanding job as our perennial go-to fire reporter.) ;-)

Don Bessee

So that would make the dark lord the biggest clown @ 3p. ;-)

Dave Cranfield

I’ve been involved with aviation since I was 14 years old. Although retired, I stay active in the field.

Certainly, the technology exists to enable aircraft with flight guidance systems to fight fires during absolute darkness. However, obstacles always exist. I will speak to the aircraft at the Grass Valley Fire Base.

Cal Fire, at least in Northern California is contracted with DynCorp for most of the fire fighting aircraft. DynCorp supplies the aircraft, crews, maintenance and logistics. The pilots belong to a union called Cal Fire Pilots Association and may have a no night flying agreement that may be able to be renegotiated. DynCorp’s aircraft are old. Most were build in the 1950’s and 1960’s and considered Jurassic Junkers in the industry. Yes, the S2T’s and OV-10’s have had engine and other upgrades to extend their useful life but they all have analog cockpit instrumentation, not glass (digital) cockpits. Okay, there may be a GPS stuffed somewhere in the cockpit.

Upgrading these Junkers with a glass cockpit, terrain mapping, heat radar and the like would cost in the millions per aircraft. Not a prudent investment on aircraft in their eleventh hour.

The solution is the development of a low flying, slow, highly maneuverable aircraft with heavy lift capabilities. The Osprey comes to mind, but I am unsure of the retardant disbursement pattern given the massive propeller diameters.

One last item. Most wild land fires are extremely remote. Even with the latest and greatest flight guidance systems pilots must take over visually at times. In remote areas at night, there is no horizon as a visual reference and can lead to spatial disorientation.

George Rebane

DaveC 658am - Thanks for that thoughtful and informative comment. All the problems you outline appear to succumb to money and training given that the politics and policy issues are overcome.

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