Sunday, April 20, 2014

Bucket Training

Water drop or "Bambi Bucket" training
Fire season is upon us in the southwest, and part of our annual ritual in the National Guard is "Bambi Bucket" training.  A combination of academic courses and practice, it gives us a chance to make sure all the buckets are working properly, but the real purpose is to make sure we're on the same page as the civilian authority that runs the fire response.  The buckets we use can hold 660 gallons of water, but we normally cinch them down to 80%, or about 530 gallons.  This ends up weighing somewhere around 4500 pounds, and while we can lift more the fires in Arizona can be at higher altitudes so it's good to have some buffer.  We usually don't get called early in the season unless things get really bad quick.  Civilian helicopter operators get the first call (they're on contract) for federal lands and as long as they can handle it we don't get the call.  Later in the season, or if the fire is on state land we get called a little quicker.

By the way - That urban legend about a scuba diver being found in a burn zone is really unlikely...  The bucket is only 50 feet below us, and we look at it as we're scooping and while flying.  A diver would be noticeable, to say the least...

Hasselblad 500EL/M, 80mm lens at f16, 1/250 sec with Tri-X 400 film