USA–– A wildland firefighting pilot carried a firefighter close to a half-mile in a water bucket after the Pole Creek Fire in Oregon flared up on Sept. 28.
The U.S. Forest Service has released a report into the dramatic water-bucket rescue of a firefighter during the Pole Creek Fire late last month.
The pilot of a helicopter was performing water drops on the west side of the blaze near Sisters, Ore., on Sept. 28 in calm weather with low levels of fire activity, but by right around 1 p.m., he noticed a sudden change in fire activity that closed off evuaction routes to a firefighter on the ground, according to KTVZ.
The pilot warned the firefighter of the danger by radio, but the firefighter responded that he would be OK.
“You don’t see what I’m looking at,” the pilot told the firefighter. “You need to get in the bucket now!”
Around 10 minutes after the fire began to flame up, the firefighter decided to trust the pilot’s judgment, climbed into the bucket and was taken about a half-mile to safety.
The pilot told officials that while they were flying away, the area the firefighter was in was already engulfed in flames.
The 20-page report outlines the rescue and details the lessons learned.
Fire and Safety Manager Tim Hoieness told the news station that the incident shows how important cross-training is so that pilots and the firefighters on the ground are on the same page.
“One of the main things that we’ve learned is the difference in perspective between the eye in the sky, the pilot in the aircraft, and the person on the ground,” he said. “It helps us learn, and it brings out open and honest discussion.”