Pilot and CEO Tim Sheehy Working the Colt Fire Near Seeley Lake
Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - Several wildfires have been reported in western Montana, one of them being the Colt Fire which is burning near Seeley Lake.
KGVO News spoke with Tim Sheehy, CEO and pilot for Bridger Aerospace based out of Bozeman, who piloted one of his ‘Super Scoopers’ on Sunday and will continue for several days next week.
Bridger Aerospace CEO Tim Sheehy is Working the Colt Fire near Seeley Lake
“Our flagship aircraft, the CL 415 EAS Super Scooper will be scooping the water and dropping it directly on the fire,” began Sheehy. “So, in some respects, the aircraft is involved in all of those incidents but the primary one right now is the Colt Fire near Lindbergh Lake near Seeley Lake and as you said, there are evacuation orders in place and our scoopers are very aggressively attacking that fire. “I'll be on flight duty tomorrow (Sunday) and I'll be flying myself for the next five days, most likely on that fire there.”
KGVO asked Sheehy about the all-important communications network that keeps aircraft and ground crews connected.
“That function is performed by what's called the air Task Force Group Supervisor,” he said. “The ATGM’, and the shorthand for that is air attack. Our aircraft are specially modified with a whole bunch of radios in the aircraft so that that individual can be the airborne command post that will deconflict the aircraft from each other, and also the aircraft from the ground forces because you have to remember that you may have hundreds or thousands of people on the ground fighting some of these incidents.”
Sheehy, a Navy SEAL, has unique Experience in Running a Wildfire Fighting Company
Sheehy said his military career in Iraq and Afghanistan has suited him and his company to battle fires here at home.
“That really goes to the birth of Bridger Aerospace and my background and most of our team who were veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan using close air support of our ground troops. I myself was a ground guy. So I was on the ground calling in airstrikes and, and we really I will not say perfected because I don't think we ever perfect our craft, but with over 20 years of continuous war we've gotten fairly good at calling in airstrikes quickly, precisely and safely. And we've tried to bring that expertise here to bear through Bridger Aerospace to wildfires in the United States and Canada.”
Sheehy said if you Receive Evacuation Orders, Obey Immediately
Sheehy has important advice for those on the ground about reporting wildfires and preparing for immediate evacuation, if necessary.
“Just report what you see quickly,” he said. “If you see a smoke plume, call 9-1-1. Call your local forest service dispatch, don't assume somebody else sees it, get the call and quickly and get the best description that you can. There are some apps out there. Firetrack is one that we designed as an example that you can actually drop a pin and report it in the app or you can just call 9-1-1 or fire dispatch. Report it early and often. Number two is of course just listen to the evacuation orders that you get. A lot of folks don't think they have to go because the fire is a mile away. It's no big deal, however, sometimes these fires can move at 40 miles per hour.”