Video of hikers evacuated by helicopter from Yosemite’s Half Dome

When Shelby Seabaugh began her hike to the top of Half Dome in Yosemite National Park in California on September 7, she had no idea she would be flown off the mountain in a helicopter. This video documents her adventure that day.

When she reached the top, the Meadow Fire burning east of their location caused Park officials to decide that all 85 of the hikers on Half Dome would have to be evacuated by helicopters.

Four agencies supplied the ships that hauled the hikers off the mountain: the California Highway Patrol, U.S. Forest Service, Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks, and CAL FIRE.

If you are not inclined to watch the entire 17-minute video, which includes the hike from the bottom to the top, and the helicopter ride back down again, you can start at about 10:30 which is when the group was near the top and includes some interesting views down onto the Meadow fire. At 11:30 it appears that helitack personnel are briefing the hikers about their upcoming helicopter ride.

More information about the Meadow Fire.

Below are some screen grabs from the video (which can be viewed on YouTube).

helicopter evacuation from Half Dome

helicopter evacuation from Half Dome

helicopter evacuation from Half Dome

The Tweet below appears to be from another group of hikers that were flown off Half Dome that day.

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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.

6 thoughts on “Video of hikers evacuated by helicopter from Yosemite’s Half Dome”

    1. You’re right David, all of these agencies with limited budgets and nothing else important to to do decided to “give back” to a few lucky tax payers and provide joy rides off the mountain.

  1. The Cal Fire helicopter is 404 based at Columbia Air Attack Base, Columbia, Ca.
    The Columbia Helitack Crew is probably the most active airborne I.A. crew in the nation Responding to and taking action on several hundred fires a season. It is a short haul ship and has been in a position several times to pull some ones bacon out of the fire.

  2. I don’t know whether these flights were necessary or not. I evacuated backcountry areas in Canada’s mountain national parks a few times because of wildfire-related area closures. Those flights were always necessary to get members of the public out of areas at risk from the wildfire we were managing. I would always think it was going to ruin the hikers’ experience but the heli ride out became the highlight of their trip. I guess we become jaded to the thrill of riding in a helicopter after so many summers spent in one. The looks on the hikers’ faces in this video when they fly off over the edge of Halfdome says it all.

  3. Well it was quite the adventure for the hikers and glad one of them shared her adventure on camera. This is the kind of event they will never forget and grandkids might boast of grandmother being rescued by helicopter from the great forest fire in years to come…

    I’m sure a risk analysis was done and this was the best way to do it.

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