Here’s a cool video showing an air tanker retardant drop on the Munson Creek Fire on Sunday. The air tanker had an old load of retardant that needed to be dumped so they dumped it on a section of the fire that is creeping closer to Chena Hot Springs Road about 3 miles east of milepost 51. You can see how the lead plane releases a short trail of smoke to show the air tanker where to drop the retardant, a technique referred to as a “show me.” The video was shot from a helicopter flying a safe distance away from the lead plane and air tanker. The helicopter looped back following the drop and you can see the red retardant line along the edge of a freshly burned area.
Other than multiple retardant drops made on July 1 in an unsuccessful attempt to hold the fire south of a ridgeline paralleling Chena Hot Springs Road to the south and east, fire managers have not used any retardant drops to slow the spread of the lightning-caused blaze. The fire is being allowed to function in its natural ecological role to reduce fuels and foster diversity in the forest while firefighters work to protect Chena Hot Springs Resort and homes and cabins along Chena Hot Springs Road. However, since the old retardant in the air tanker was going to be jettisoned and go to waste, fire managers elected to dump it along one of the more active portions of the fire to slow its progress toward the road. Video by Ira Hardy/Alaska DNR-Division of Forestry.