July 2000 Issue

The Heat is On

Wildfires create traffic and visibility hazards near and far away

Everyone knows that “where there’s smoke, there’s fire.” When most people think about smoke and fire in aviation, three things come to mind: engine fire, electrical fire, crash site. There is, however, another form of smoke that certainly demands respect, and that’s the smoke created by wildfires.

Wildfires both large and small create a number of special hazards to general aviation that must be treated with caution. Though wildfires are most common in the western U.S., urban residents of Long Island, Florida, Malibu and Oakland have experienced the powerful ravage of wildfires recently in this decade. The power of wildfire and its hazards to aviators throughout the country should not be...

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