Kenny Chapman is an aerial firefighting pilot for Erickson Incorporated who has been flying over orange smoke-filled skies via helicopter for over 50 years, including nearly all the major countries struck annually by devastating forest fires – Australia, Turkey, Italy, Greece, Chile, and the US. One of the most impactful was the Carr Fire in Redding, California in 2018; “I’ve never seen a fire move that fast,” he reflected.
The Carr Fire, started by sparks from the bare wheel rim of a travel trailer, burned close to 230,000 square acres and almost 360 square miles in the Shasta and Trinity Counties of California. It has been cited as the seventh-largest wildfire in California history, killing eight people, including three firefighters. The cost to fight this human-caused fire was US$104,500,000 and involved six different agencies and nearly 4,800 personnel. Chapman worked to mitigate the fire using Erickson’s S-64 Air Crane® helicopter.