This afternoon, I drove down to The Black Forest to see the wildfires raging there which are necessitating evacuations. The wind gusts were extremely strong and worrisome. As I got closer, I was diverted to the west by a controlled intersection swelling with evacuees. I managed to find another route to the south and parked within a couple of miles of the heart of the fire.
Two Chinook helicopters dumped barrels of water on hot spots, while a DC-10 delivered fire retardant. Circling overhead were smaller, single-engine planes monitoring the fire from higher altitudes. I saw the DC-10 conduct two passes over the fire, and could see the reduction in the intensity of the smoke almost immediately. It was amazing how close the jet swept overhead to deliver its tanks, as on the Chinooks kept a tight pattern nearby and the smaller planes danced above.
As tragic as the scene was, there was something mesmerizing and even beautiful about how artfully the pilots coordinated their respective duties in the skies.