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Air war underway at West Mullan Fire

By Steve Fetveit, Anchor, sfetveit@keci.com
Published On: Jul 17 2013 07:26:32 PM MDT
Updated On: Jul 17 2013 08:50:48 PM MDT
MISSOULA, Mont. -

The battle against the West Mullan Fire, northwest of Superior, continued Wednesday under the threat of shifting weather patterns.  While the threat to homes in the Superior area continues, fire crews are attacking the flames on the ground and from the air.

At last count, nine hand crews are on the fire lines, assisted by six helicopters making water drops from the air.

I was in Superior Wednesday, joining community bystanders with "front row seats" for what looked like an all out air attack.  Helicopters are a valuable tool when the war against fire is waged on steep terrain.  The West Mullan Fire has six choppers assigned.  Most carry buckets to dip water from the Clark Fork River.

The heavy hitter in this fire battle is a Sikorsky Sky Crane is owned by Siller Brothers.  The Siller base is in northern California.  Every time this big boy drops to the water, it sucks up 2,000 gallons of water to soak the advancing flames.

The demonstration of “fire fighting power” was impressive -- a real show stopper.