Updated at 11:02 a.m. MDT June 16, 2021
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.
The most current reports indicate there were five people on board.
8:06 p.m. MDT June 15, 2021
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.
I’m monitoring the situation involving a DNRC helicopter on the Deep Creek Fire. I’m relieved to hear that all involved are getting the necessary medical attention.
Please join me for praying for them and our first responders across the state.
— Governor Greg Gianforte (@GovGianforte) June 16, 2021
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.
#DeepCreekFire update: We are in unified command with Montana DNRC and a Type 1 team has been ordered. Highway 12 is closed east of Townsend. Please avoid the Deep Creek Canyon area. pic.twitter.com/AQ0OHcw9kg
— Helena-Lewis&ClarkNF (@LewisandClarkNF) June 15, 2021
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.