Video shows daring helicopter pilot refilling bucket in swimming pool

This video shows a firefighting helicopter pilot refilling its bucket in a backyard swimming pool in Portugal, to tackle a nearby blaze. João Guimarães, the next-door neighbor, writes that the fire was brought under control in 20 minutes.

I woke up this morning to this show. A loaded helo (Eurocopter AS350) from the portuguese firefighters landed in front of my house, droped 5 men in full gear, hooked up a bucket and started waterbombing a fire that broke out (or someone started, most likely) right next to a neighbor's house. After 20 mins the fire was controlled by a 6 men team :).

Many thanks to the unseen team on the ground, for risking their lives to save other's property.

Here's a closer angle, apparently shot by the pool's owner:

More from Guimarães:

I became friends with the pilot flying on the video, he has a very nice onboard video from another mission ...

filling at swimming pools is only done as a last resort (but not illegal in Portugal) because of the risks involved (children playing, damage to property, flying debris such as garden furniture, etc), but he did so on this case because there were houses in danger and the water source was so convenient. ... He also detailed the operation a little bit more: he was returning to the airfield from another bushfire when he saw the initial smoke column. He took the initiative to land and start the attack on his own since the fire was so close to houses.

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45,000 barrels of Kentucky bourbon went up in flames

If you're a fan of Kentucky bourbon, get ready to cry: According to a number of reports, 45,000 barrels of Jim Beam just went up in flames.

From The New York Times:

The fire started around 11 p.m. in Woodford County on Tuesday and was still burning at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, fire officials said. They expected the warehouse to burn for five more hours. No injuries were reported.

“The biggest issue we are dealing with is the environmental aspect,” said Drew Chandler, the Woodford County emergency management director. “If we put the fire out, we are going to dump a lot of water on it and that water will be contaminated.”

He said that fire officials did not know what had caused the fire, but a spokeswoman for Jim Beam said she believed lightning had sparked it.

Because of the fear that water in the area around the fire could be contaminated with ethanol if firefighters turned their hoses on it, 'let is burn' was the order of the day. The good news for Jimmy B aficionados is that the barrels that burned were full of relatively young hooch. As such, there shouldn't be any interruption in the amount of the bourbon available to the public for the foreseeable future--the burnt out warehouse is one of many. The bad news is that the lost alcohol was worth a small fortune. According to the New York Times, each barrel contains enough bourbon to fill between 150 and 200 750 milliliter bottles. Read the rest

Air tanker drops are often useless for fighting wildfires, but politicians order them because they make good TV

Firefighters call airdrops "CNN Drops" because they're often useless, but politicians order them in order to produce a TV-friendly spectacle that reassures voters that Something is Being Done. Read the rest