Supporting Greece for 22 Years and Counting

Erickson’s 2021 firefighting season in Greece was a successful contract. Learn more about why Erickson is so committed to the country of Greece and what goes into that commitment.

Erickson, Inc. is headquartered in Portland, Oregon, and it is over 6,300 miles to Athens, Greece. While there is a geographic distance between the two locations, Erickson has been deeply committed to the country of Greece with aerial firefighting. The reasons for this commitment include – the history of the country, the land, and the people.

A woman watches her house as a firefighting helicopter drops water during a fire in the village of Thisoa, in the Peloponnese, about 250 kilometers (155 miles) southwest of Athens, Greece, Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2007. The country’s worst forest fires in living memory have killed at least 64 people since they began five days ago, ravaging olive groves, forest and orchards and incinerating homes, wild animals and livestock. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
The History

Thoughts of Greece may conjure images of ancient historical monuments. Think of Olympia, the site of the original Olympic Games, where visitors can view remnants of Greek God statuary, bathhouses, and the original competition fields from 776 BC. Or, in Athens, the Acropolis and Parthenon – these are resounding national monuments with tall multi-colored columns of marble and granite, with open areas that if you listen hard enough, reverberate with the sound of sporting competitions and vigorous town hall meetings. Each year, these monuments are viewed by millions of tourists who come to Greece to understand early governments, philosophy, and religions. Additionally, each of the historical artifacts in Greece are supported by hundreds of statues featuring Greek Gods, animals, and early leaders. Seeing these captured and restored figures provides humans with the earliest understanding of people and life.

The Land

The Greek islands themselves are also beautiful and diverse. There are rolling hills with timeworn vineyards and olive trees dating back hundreds of years. The land can be dry, or green and forested. There are mountains and craggy rock outcroppings. Millions of people live in Athens in off-white and tan apartments, while more Greek citizens live in the small cities and towns farming the land and drinking wine. Residents sit for hours in café-lined towns with cappuccinos and moussaka debating world politics.

With land as unique and archaic as Greece, it would be devastating to see wildfires racing through bone dry islands like Mykonos, or through the beautiful and reverent Corfu with ancient churches and castles.

Therefore, it is mission-critical for Erickson to provide Greece with the very best firefighting machinery in the S-64 Air Crane® helicopters. With world-renowned water tanks paired with water and foam cannons to extinguish unexpected heat and flame, Erickson provides the best in firefighting management with project managers, pilots, and mechanics. The people on the Erickson team have a deep understanding of both the equipment and how fire can devastate the land.

Erickson can fight the heat and damage that can be caused by wildfire, whether natural or man-made.

And, each year, as the climate continues to become drier and hotter, it is even more critical to keep this magical place safe.

The People

We work to keep the residents of the country safe from wildfire. Widely known as leaders in aerial firefighting, Erickson is proud to have expanded its operation globally to help preserve the sacred monuments of Greece. Erickson began its relationship with the country of Greece in 1999 with one S-64 Air Crane® helicopter, which was also the first operational use of the Sea Snorkel at the time. Over the years, the relationship evolved and so did the number of S-64 Air Crane® helicopters operating each year. What started in 1999 with one aircraft grew to 10 in 22+ years.

Erickson’s presence in Greece grew partially due to the solid relationship between the Hellenic Fire Service and Erickson Incorporated. The other part had a lot to do with the severity of wildfires blazing through the country. Greece has encountered serious wildfires in years past, and the fire seasons are only growing in length and severity each year.

This infographic provides detail about what it takes to support a country, like Greece, with wildfire suppression and provisions to keep people safe. Here’s a quick snapshot of some of those numbers.


Total aircraft | 22

S-64 Air Crane® Helicopters | 10

Bell 214B/ST | 6

Air Tractor Fire Boss | 6

Mission Overview

120 days

3,300+ flight hours

71% of flight hours accrued in August alone

S-64 Air Crane® Performance

1,800+ flight hours

19,200+ water drops

16.9/64 million gallons/liters of water (8.9/33.69 million gallons/liters of saltwater & 8/30 million gallons/liters of freshwater)

In summary

The majesty and beauty of Greece demand protection from wildfires and natural disasters. Erickson feels strongly about the importance and seriousness of this contract. Protecting the history, land, and people of Greece, along with Hellenic Fire is mission-critical in offering a complete solution for wildfire management and mitigation.