Saturday, June 17, 2017

Air tankers quickly quell fire

Firefighters, aided by air tankers, made quick work of a wildland fire along Reservation Road, just west of Dead Man’s Curve Friday afternoon.

The Curve Fire broke out at 3:50 p.m. and burned on both the north and south sides of the road, said CalFire Battalion Chief Brad Adam. The north side was limited to less than an acre, but on the south side the fire headed up the hill and toward the lone house in the area. The fire was kept a safe distance from the house and Adam estimated it burned only about 10 acres.

Three air tankers out of the Porterville Air Attack Base, including one jet-powered plane, quickly surrounded the fire with bright red retardant. All three planes made a second run, dousing hot spots with huge drops of retardant.

Adam said by 4:30 p.m. the fire was 20 percent contained, but it did not appear to be spreading.

While the air tankers did the early work, hand crews and engine crews were doing the hot, dirty and late work. Thirteen engines, two water tankers from Tulare County Fire, four hand crews, a bulldozer and assistance from the Tule River Indian Reservation Fire Department and Sequoia National Forest worked the fire, aided by a forest helicopter which made numerous water drops on hot spots.

“We were fortunate to stop it so quickly,” said Adam, noting the thick and tall, dry grass and hot temperatures.

Reservation Road was closed at Worth Drive and at Success Valley Drive. Crews were expected to remain on the fire at least until midnight, said Adam.

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