Fighting the White Fire from the air

Andrew Gray, NewsChannel 3 Reporter, agray@keyt.com
POSTED: 07:19 PM PDT May 28, 2013    UPDATED: 02:38 PM PDT May 29, 2013 
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SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. -

The air attack base in Santa Maria is in full operation as crews try to get a handle on the White Fire.

Air tankers can help suppress the fire from the air from a half hour before sunrise and a half hour after sunset.

They cannot fly when it is dark out because pilots have to be able to see everything, including hazards like power lines.

Wind speeds also play a factor. It could have been very damaging during the initial attack.

“We had our actual air tanker dropping down through it on the final drop and they hit this pocket of air that dropped them down. They lost 1,800 feet and gained 50 nautical miles per hour so that throws off their drops,” said U.S. Forest Service spokesman Brad Joos.

Currently six air tankers are fighting the fire.