ABC News has a three-minute video report on the only full time firefighting helicopter pilot employed by a government agency in California. In addition to working for Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA) where is is now, she previously flew helicopters for CAL FIRE, a privately owned helicopter company with a firefighting contract, a heavy lift operator, a helicopter tour company in Hawaii, and TV stations in Los Angeles.
The video below appears to have been produced before Desiree started working at the OCFA.
‘DREAM JOB’: Firefighters in California have already battled more than 1,100 wildfires this year. Desiree Horton is one of just twenty full-time CAL FIRE helicopter pilots and she’s breaking ground for women high above the front lines. NBC’s Hallie Jackson reports tonight.
Desiree Horton was recently hired by CAL FIRE as their first permanent female helicopter pilot. She has been working for the last year or so in a temporary position as a pilot for the agency, and before that she flew for many years as a contract pilot on firefighting helicopters, and as a news helicopter pilot in the Los Angeles area.
A few days ago we had a short video that teased about the report above, which which ran yesterday on the CBS Los Angeles 11 p.m. news.
Desiree Horton was recently hired into a permanent position by CAL FIRE, becoming their first female helicopter pilot. She has been working for the last year or so in a temporary position as a pilot for the agency, and before that she flew for many years as a contract pilot on firefighting helicopters, and as a news helicopter pilot in the Los Angeles area.
The video above announces that she will be featured in a report Wednesday night October 15 on the CBS station in Los Angeles.
CAL Fire helicopter pilot Desiree Horton is featured in a news report on MyFoxLA (above). Desiree has been flying helicopters for at least 14 years, including piloting and reporting from news helicopters for several TV stations in Los Angeles, flying on U.S. Forest Service contracts for a firefighting helicopters on the San Bernardino National Forest and in Oregon, doing heavy lifts in a Sikorsky S-58, and then in 2013 flying a fire helicopter for CAL FIRE. She even has her own Wikipedia page, and has been nicknamed “Chopper Chick”: She is currently working on a limited term appointment, but hopes to get a permanent job with CAL FIRE.
Back in the days before FireAviation.com was born, we wrote several articles about Desiree on WildfireToday.com.
Desiree is the first female firefighting helicopter pilot in California working directly for a public agency. However there has been at least one other woman who worked for a private company on a firefighting contract — Bonnie Wilkens, who flew out of Ramona.