Air tanker drops are often useless for fighting wildfires, but politicians order them because they make good TV

#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/04/15/mediagenic-boondoggles.html

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#2

Prompted by Drumpfian delusions on twitter?

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#3

Ah, but the times we’re living in present the conundrum of: What if they did the responsible thing and didn’t use them as much?

The political opposition would chastise them for not using them. Studies and experts would be trotted out by both sides, and a bunch of confused voters will not be able to figure out who’s got the legitimate point.

Nicknames would be assigned to the party in office. “Johnny Forest Fire”.

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#4

Yeah I’m not sure why he thinks dropping tons of water from the sky at high speed onto a delicate, already-structurally-compromised building surrounded by densely populated city would be a better idea than pointing fire hoses directly at the source of the flames.

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#5

The use of airdrops is …about 20% of the Forest Service’s firefighting budget.

This one-sided calculus never works. Sure, it’s expensive, but what is the cost of not giving the leaders a spectacle? It could be a lot more than 20% of the budget.

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#6

Trump weighs in:
https://secondnexus.com/news/donald-trump-notre-dame-flying-water-tankers/2/

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#7

Water tankers are basically airstrikes for firefighting; so it’s not a huge surprise to see an American politician with an outsize faith in their efficacy and definite lack of side effects.

That’s pretty standard even among the ones who don’t exist in a haze of bellicose senility.

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#8

I just hope nobody lets Trump watch Outbreak or he’ll order the CDC to fight the next disease epidemic with fuel-air bombs.

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#9

As god is my witness I thought the blood of the innocent could fly!

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#10

These two things are not the same.

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#11

I think it’s trying to say that airdrops are mostly useful in the hours before the cameras show up.

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#12

Every friggin’ time Trump feels the need to offer advice about anything, all I can think of is:

Because it’s always appropriate.

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#13

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#14

And like military airstrikes, are prone to “friendly fire” incidents and wanton destruction:

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#15

Just add to the list of things Trump thinks he understands, but really does not.

That list is really just the Wikipedia table of contents, though.

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#16

so there should be some money in fighting fires with cgi then right? or hiring bunch of mutants/exceptionally talented peeps to form an elite fire fighting team. my first picks would be the kid with Myostatin-related muscle hypertrophy, the crisper twins, stephen hawkings secretly hidden clone and elton john.

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#17

Honesty I can’t even think of an action movie in which aerial firefighting was used to extinguish a fire in an urban environment, let alone an instance in real life. I’m just glad he didn’t take it upon himself to send in a plane from a nearby US airbase to “help out” and thus wash 400 hapless firefighters into the Seine.

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#18

Honestly, I struggle to figure out a single thing Trump really understands. Probably not even New York real estate (given his poor track record). Tax fraud? (He probably has others do much of the work, even there.) Manipulating the press might have been the one thing he was really good at, but even there, it feels like it was performing on more of a basic instinct than a real understanding. I really feel like this is a man who is, at best, only barely competent even with his few core competencies, and where his position and experience did the work rather than any understanding of the areas in which he operated.

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#20

Because it’s too late for raking!

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#21

Just happened a big fire there, they used a lot helicopters to drop water in hard to reach places. Clearly near houses they have used fire engines. By the way the copters weren’t televised, the have shown the fire engines near houses.

I suppose that the usage depends if the area has pines or oaks, because burning pines for instance are more dangerous for firefighters than oaks or nuts trees. In other words the copters are expensive but less expesive than a couple of dead firefighters caught by a falling tree.

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