The Deepwater Horizon site. Photo source: NOAA
A field of fire out in the Gulf of Mexico, where leaked BP oil burns by the barrel, is known as the “burn box.” Every barrel that burns there is one more that will never reach shore, CBS News Correspondent Mark Strassmann reports.
The “Explorer” is the command ship overseeing a fleet of smaller ships in the burn box. Two planes act as spotters to guide boats to heavy crude and calm seas.
Skimming boats dragging flame-resistant boom collect oil – like raking a pile of leaves – and push it into a target area for burning that’s 10 miles long, 10 miles wide. That’s the burn box.
“This is the first time we’ve ever used fire-resistant boom on a major spill event,” Alan Allen, an oil spill consultant, said.