This year’s fire season arrived in Whitecourt last week with some brush fires north of town. There were a number of aircraft that came in to work with Alberta Sustainable Resourses to help control and put out these fires. The strong wind with the warmer weather helped fan the flames and one of the fires was out of control for a couple of days. We did have some rain which helped slow the fire down and brought it under control. It will still take a number of days to put out all the fire before all the aircraft and fire crews are released to move elsewhere.
Whitecourt Fire Base run by Alberta Sustainable Resourses is an important part of the Whitecourt Airport Operations and the reason for the airport being built. The local helicopter companies are involved in working on the fires.
When a Forest Fire has been reported and there are restrictions for aircraft not working with the Government Forest Agency. This is stated in the Canadian Aviation Regulations 601.15; no unauthorized aircraft are to be operated in a forest fire area within 5 Nautical Miles at less than 3000 feet Above Ground Level. These areas are quite often identified in the Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) that pilots are required to review before flying. 
Below are some of the aircraft that arrived in Whitecourt last week.


                  Whitecourt Firebase Staging Area

    Remote Helicopters Bell 212 and Ridge Rotors Bell  206

   Remote Helicopters Bell 204 being readied for flight

  Whitecourt Firebase with Valhalla Helicopters Bell 205   and an AStar in front of the Water Bombers
     Air Tractor Water Bombers waiting for some action      CL 415 Water Bomber departing Whitecourt Airport
            CL 215 Water Bomber taxing for departure                         Convair taxing for departure