Erickson has landed three new aerial firefighting contracts from the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) for the upcoming 2021 wildfire season. The contracts cover two S-64F Air Cranes to be based in Fresno and Kitchen Creek, California and one Bell 214ST to be based in Lucky Peak, Idaho. This is the first 214ST firefighting contract for Erickson.
The company has been working with the USFS since 1995 and provides firefighting services worldwide including in the U.S., Canada, Australia, Greece, Italy, and South Korea. In the U.S., the USFS works in conjunction with Cal Fire and the U.S. Department of Interior member agencies including the Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, and Bureau of Indian Affairs on aerial firefighting contracts.
A diversified helicopter services company, Erickson is best known for its fleet of utility and water-bombing Air Cranes. Earlier this year a senior company executive predicted that wildfires would likely worsen in duration and intensity. “It is an amazing situation. We are seeing more fires, higher maximum temperatures, amazing change in humidity, increase in droughts, and increase in wind speeds,” said Erick Nodland, v-p of the company's aviation center of excellence. Nodland called current fire challenges “extreme.”