Helicopter crashes while working on the Deep Creek Fire in Montana

Updated at 11:02 a.m. MDT June 16, 2021

Helicopter crash site montana

The Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation said in a tweet that has been deleted the helicopter that crashed Tuesday had a “hard landing”. It was en route to the helibase on the Deep Creek Fire southeast of Helena.

Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen said it happened right in front of a trooper from the Highway Patrol, Amanda Villa, who helped extricate the people on board.

Helicopter Crash

The most current reports indicate there were five people on board.


8:06 p.m. MDT June 15, 2021

Deep Creek and Robertson Draw Fires
Satellite photo showing the smoke from two wildfires in Montana at 4:11 p.m. MDT June 15, 2021; the Deep Creek and Robertson Draw Fires.

NBC Montana is reporting that a Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation helicopter crashed Tuesday while working on the Deep Creek Fire southeast of Helena.

There were injuries among the five people on board, reportedly minor, and were being treated.

Broadwater Reporter has video of what they say is the burning wreckage. They reported that the crew evacuated safely.

The Governor mentioned the crash in a tweet.

The incident occurred on North Fork Road at the intersection of Highway 12.

The Deep Creek Fire is 40 air miles southeast of Helena, burning vigorously east of Townsend on both sides of US 12.

We will update this article as more information becomes available.

MT DNRC helicopter
Helicopter operated by the Montana DNRC. Photo credit: Montana DNRC.

The Montana DNRC operates a fleet of five UH-1H (Huey) helicopters that are on loan from the U.S. Forest Service under the Federal Excess Personal Property program. Three are located in Helena, Missoula and Kalispell to provide direct protection initial attack. The other two are in Helena for state-wide deployment on an as needed basis. They also have access to two light Bell 206 B-III type 3 helicopters stationed in Helena. One is owned by the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). DNRC maintains this aircraft and provides pilot services to DEQ. In return, DNRC reserves the right to use it for fire missions. The second light helicopter is used as a backup aircraft or for additional coverage.

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10 thoughts on “Helicopter crashes while working on the Deep Creek Fire in Montana”

  1. glad all lived and thanks for the work & your service. insurance will cover it – not a problem. heal up soon & see u on the next one

  2. This is absolutely terrible news! My heart goes out to the crew and their families. May God bless each of you impacted and all of my Helitack Brothers & Sisters out there!

  3. Many Thanks to the trooper who helped get them out ! Very happy all will recover and the copter can be replaced.

  4. DNRC87m assisted us in catching many heads of fire. The ride I took in it few years back is marked as highlight of my fire fighting career, so far. Sure hope the crew is ok and on the mend. Not good, down a rotorwing this season.

  5. Trooper Amanda Villa is my HERO! Good work having the situational awareness and nerves of steel to take action to assist, and impart a significantly more positive outcome than what could have occurred had she chosen differently. You are my HERO Amanda!

      1. Just go to the main page, then search that one specifically, it’s not a private website

  6. Oh wow they pulled it, probably something to do with official investigations not being completed. The essence was that he came in with too much tail wind and didn’t check the wind at the LZ well enough, sank, (settling with power) and hit hard, started spinning and rolled.

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