Tuesday, September 07, 2010

North Boulder Air Show

Nothing like sitting at your desk at home and watching helicopters and slurry bombers out your window.  Some of them fly directly overhead.

Been a little bit noisy around here today, 3 helicopters and I think 6 slurry bombers (or maybe 8?) buzzing overhead.  The helicopters are getting water out of Wonderland Lake, less than 1/2 a mile from my house.

If the photos aren't enough here's some video.  You can feel like you're here but without the choking smoke and the spray from the helicopter.

Fourmile Canyon Fire - Helicopter from colliebrains on Vimeo.

I also got some video of the smoke and slurry bombers.  This is shot from the Wonderland Trail looking west as are the photos.

Fourmile Canyon Fire - slurry bombers & smoke from colliebrains on Vimeo.

Three slurry bombers at once.

More photos here.

This guy has some amazing time lapse video.  This one from last night is particularly scary.

I drove up Flagstaff (where the video above is shot from) around lunch time and took some photos but it doesn't give a true impression of how bad the fire is.

I'm not sure why it looks so calm compared to the video from last night.  The fire has actually doubled in size to around 7100 acres and is not contained anywhere, 63 structures burned (that they know of).  There's no forecast of rain in the near future so I think this one will be burning for a while.  They've shut the Boulder Reservoir to the public to use it as a staging area for firefighters/emergency crews.  No more open water masters swim sessions this year.  Smoke is bad anyway, can't believe the people running and biking in it.  You can't see it so it doesn't seem like it should be bad but I was out in it for maybe an hour and a half today and my lungs were burning and I was having trouble catching my breath when I came inside.

And if you're planning on coming up to Boulder to try to see the fire pretty please don't interfere with the firefighting efforts.  There were reports of some dumb asses in paragliders interfering with the firefighting efforts as well as reporters sneaking into evacuation areas and having to be escorted out.  Firefighters have better things to do right now, let's don't turn this tragedy into a freak show.


  1. Anonymous10:45 AM

    Not all paraglider pilots are dumb asses, though of course there are a few dumb ass everythings. The local flying club posted Monday on it's web site for pilots to check TFRs (temporary flight restrictions) before flying.
    This is common practice amongst responsible pilots when there is a fire in the area. Sadly, there is one local instructor who is himself a dumb ass, and who has created some dumb ass students. Can you tell how strongly I feel about this?
    Anyway, most of us are not like that...

  2. I didn't mean to imply ALL paragliders are dumb asses. But these particular dumb asses were in paragliders and they were absolutely interfering with the planes and helicopters fighting the fire. The call came over the sheriff's radio. There's no way they were authorized to be where they were and they were interfering and nearly collided with a firefighting plane according to an eyewitness.

  3. BTW, I have nothing against paragliders but I have a huge problem with people gawking and interfering with firefighters and evacuation efforts. Wonderland had a terrible fire here some years ago and I feared I wouldn't be able to evacuate my neighborhood if I had to for all the idiots who came to gawk and party.

  4. Anonymous1:00 PM

    I agree, no interference with firefighters. I remember that Wonderland fire, too. Very scarey.
    Looking at your map, that dumb ass instructor lives (or used to live) pretty close to you. He landed in some power lines near there a few years ago, causing the utilities to have to cut power to the neighborhood till he got himself out. Dumb ass!!!
    I just had to put in a few good words about my "other" sport, and the mostly good folks who fly!

  5. Yeah, I know there's an instructor in the neighborhood and he doesn't have a very good reputation but I can't remember exactly why. The Foothills Community Park and the foothills just west of there are popular areas for paragliding and he does lessons out there a lot. Or he used to, come to think of it I haven't seen them out there doing lessons for a while. I think he got in trouble with the city at some point, maybe they finally shut him down.