Helicopter Express joined international responders converging on Santiago to assist the people of Chile in fighting wildfires.
“The country of Chile is experiencing an unprecedented fire season, very similar to this past fall in the southeastern United States,” says Gary Dalton, VP of marketing at Helicopter Express. “Just as in the Smokey Mountains, Helicopter Express has been contracted to dispatch aircraft and crews to help battle the fires. The big difference this time is the aircraft have to move a continent away.”
After ten days of prep, an Antonov AN-124 arrived in Santiago and unloaded three Bell 205 helicopters, one K-MAX 1200, and a flatbed truck with an attached goose-neck trailer. Ten crew members from Helicopter Express flew
down with the Antonov, so everyone was ready to go as soon as they hit the ground within five hours.
“There are wildfires all over the world, so we’re glad to help,” says Dalton. “We’re also looking at fighting fires in Brazil. We’re specialists at what we do, and when you’re a specialist, you become very efficient. We can help mentor
the locals and help them get things going on their own.”
In addition to its film and television operations, Helicopter Express has just completed its twentieth year of firefighting operations for various US government agencies such as the US Forest Service and the National Park Service.