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Tanke 912 makes a drop on the latest Lake County fire, the Elk fire, Wednesday Sept. 1, 2015.  (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2015

Tanker 912 makes a drop on the latest Lake County fire, the Elk fire, Wednesday Sept. 2, 2015. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2015

There are fire seasons when I don’t make a picture of an air tanker dropping that bright reddish pink phos-chek which has become such a visible part of wildland coverage.  I might be in the wrong place on the blaze, only to see the tail end of the drop.  This has always been an integral part of aerial firefighting, now more than ever with “mega” fires breaking out year over year. Ask any wildland fire photographer, the tanker picture is one that is sought on any major incident.

I’ve photographed a lot of drops this year however, but kept missing 10 Tanker Air Carrier’s converted McDonnell Douglas DC-10’s making one of those 12,000 gallon belly eruptions.  

During the Elk fire in Lake County on Wednesday, I was in the right place for nearly a dozen drops from Cal Fire’s S-2T air tankers; Neptune Aviation’s  BAE-146; Air Guard’s MAFFS (Modular Airborne Firefighting Systems) and the beast DC-10 tanker 912.

For all you wingnuts out there, these are for you.

A Cal Fire tanker

A Cal Fire S-2T air tanker is used to put in an indirect fire line, in case the Elk fire were to spot over the ridge, Wednesday September 2, 2015. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2015

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Using a little body English, A Cal Fire S-2T air tanker is used to put in an indirect fire line, in case the Elk fire were to spot over the ridge, Wednesday September 2, 2015. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2015

Wednesday September 2, 2015. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2015

A BAE-146 on the Elk fire in Upper Lake, Wednesday September 2, 2015. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2015

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A BAE-146. left and a Cal Fire S-2T on the Elk fire in Upper Lake, Wednesday September 2, 2015. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2015

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A BAE-146 on the Elk fire in Upper Lake, Wednesday September 2, 2015. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2015

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A MAAF’s drops on Pitney Ridge on the Elk fire in Upper Lake, Wednesday September 2, 2015. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2015

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A MAAF’s drops on Pitney Ridge on the Elk fire in Upper Lake, Wednesday September 2, 2015. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2015

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With a lead plane, A BAE-146 makes a drop on the Elk fire in Upper Lake, Wednesday September 2, 2015. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2015

A BAE-146 on the Elk fire in Upper Lake, Wednesday September 2, 2015. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2015

A BAE-146 on the Elk fire in Upper Lake, Wednesday September 2, 2015. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2015

A BAE-146 drops on Pitney Ridge during the Elk fire in Upper Lake, Wednesday September 2, 2015. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2015

A BAE-146 drops on Pitney Ridge during the Elk fire in Upper Lake, Wednesday September 2, 2015. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2015

A BAE-146, left and a DC10 orbit the Elk fire in Upper Lake, Wednesday September 2, 2015. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2015

A BAE-146, left and a DC10 orbit the Elk fire in Upper Lake, Wednesday September 2, 2015. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2015

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Tanker 912, A DC-10 moves in to make a drop on the Elk fire in Upper Lake, Wednesday September 2, 2015. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2015

Another sought after photo?  Fires at night.

The Elf fire burns in to the overnight hours, Wednesday Sept. 2, 2015 on the Russian River in Upper Lake. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2015

The Elk fire burns in to the overnight hours, Wednesday Sept. 2, 2015 in Upper Lake. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2015

-Kent Porter