Black Hills helitack crew open house–50 years of service

From the Rapid City Journal:

The golden anniversary of deploying helicopters to Black Hills forest fires will be observed Saturday, July 25.

The public open house will be at the U.S. Forest Service hangar at the Custer Airport, 3 miles south of Custer on Highway 385. Signs will be posted on the route, including Aviation Way to the airport.

Events will be from 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., including a 6 p.m. barbecue, photo slide show and stories, possibly from members of the original crew and the days of “heli-jumping” without parachutes.

Order forms for 50th anniversary T-shirts and historic photographs also will be available. Copies of the “50 Years of Service” helitack photo book can be bought at

The Black Hills Interagency Helitack Program was established in 1959. The program has operated continuously since, stationed in either Hill City or Custer.

The current eight-man crew serves a seasonal contract from mid-June to mid-September throughout the Black Hills National Forest, as well as regional property managed by National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Indian Affairs and Crook County, Wyo.

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire. Google+