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Simply a cool picture.

army_mil-106940-2011-04-28-190437.jpgA U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service King Air lead plane guides a C-130J Hercules from the 146th Airlift Wing during firefighting operations in Scurry County, Texas, April 27. The lead planes guide aircraft to ensure that the fire retardant is dispensed where it is needed. Photo Credit: Staff Sgt. Eric Harris, U.S. Air Force

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We call 'em our Eyes in the Sky.  And they do much, much more than just guide the flame retardant planes in to their target zone.  They also provide drop locations to the choppers carrying bambi buckets full of water as well as provide ground crews with up-to-the-minute information about fire line containment -- or lack thereof -- so that resources can be placed where they are most needed.  On big fires it can be quite a hairy situation with two or three big planes and three or four choppers all working the air lanes in *less than optimum* visual conditions -- and the Eyes in the Sky coordinating it all while trying to fly in those same conditions.

 
In some areas, sighting the first robin is the a sure sign of spring.  In southern AZ, it's the sighting of the first tanker that means sprng is here!
 
In some areas, sighting the first robin is a sure sign of spring.  In southern AZ, it's the sighting of the first tanker that means spring is here!
 
The air attack manager has the responsibility of making sure none of the many aircraft collide as well as put their loads where they're supposed to be. The guys who flew oil dispersal runs in the Gulf told me that these plane even spot for the drop as they were unable to see the oil slick they were droppong on.

And the C-130 pilots are sum damm good flyboys. From the canyons and mountains of S California, to the hills and pines of the Carolinas to the brush and plains of Texas, different conditions and weather, different fire behavior and the occasional condor / buzzard flying by.
 
It is now officially spring here!  The orange tailed birds have arrived!