Owl manages to enter a fire-fighting helicopter mid-flight and escape the Creek Fire in Madera County, California
In a state of emergency or a threat, we all become capable of the impossible. This is what one wise owl did to escape the Creek Fire in the Sierra National Forest, California!
The owl caught a ride in a helicopter mid-flight, at around 12.30 pm on October 11th. The bird managed to push himself through a window, 16-inch by 16-inch in size, and to enter the UH-1 Huey Helicopter piloted by Sky Aviation’s Dan Alpiner.
Then, it sat with him for several water drops as its home burnt below, and it fled away to safety 10 minutes later.
- An owl entered a helicopter mid-flight to escape the Creek Fire in Madera County, California
- The owl was photographed by firefighters after it boarded the UH-1 Huey Helicopter
The pilot could take only one photo of the owl, standing on a seat in the helicopter, because ‘it’s not easy to fly a mission and be a photographer at the same time’.
“It’s an unexplainable and magical miracle for it to stay with you for several water drops, then leave just as it arrived — safe and unannounced.
It kind of spooked me for a second there and we kind of locked eyes and the thing looked around and was chill. And then I was like, “OK then, you are going to work with me”.’
The owl and the helicopter must have been traveling at the same speed for the bird to be able to get into the aircraft safely, according to American Helicopter Flight instructor Matthew Dowdy.
- The Creek Fire, which started on September 4, is the largest single wildfire in California’s recorded history
He explained that it has to be the perfect timing, adding that “it is just a daring bird.” The wind generated by the blade of the helicopter has the power to overthrow a grown man to the ground.
Alpiner, a helicopter pilot for the Wyoming-based charter company Sky Aviation, posted the photo on Facebook and wrote:
“It’s odd to have an owl enter an aircraft. It’s unheard of to have it enter while the helo is in-flight. It’s an unexplainable and magical miracle for it to stay with you for several water drops, then leave just as it arrived -- safe and unannounced.”
Alpiner added that he gets to experience various adventures in the work, but he will take his one with him “ for a long time.”
- The fire is currently 55 percent contained and is spread over Fresno County in the south and Madera County in the north
The Creek Fire that started on September 4 has expanded on over 337,655 acres, which makes it the largest single wildfire in the history of California.
At the moment, it is 55 percent contained, but it continues to spread over Fresno County in the south and Madera County in the north. The fire has destroyed 856 and damaged 71 buildings. Currently, 964 people are working on fighting it.
Although many scientists think that the cause of the fire is climate change, experts also believe that beetles have contributed to it too, by eating their way through millions of acres of trees across western North America and leaving dry timber which is very easy to burst into flames at any moment.
Scientists maintain that climate change has caused a five-year drought in the state, leaving millions of trees without water and exposed to these creatures.
Cal Fire Public Information Officer Daniel Berlant said:
“So many of the trees have died creating significant fuel for the fire to burn. Massive amounts of pine trees that have died off over the years due to drought and due to the bark beetle.”
The US Department of Agriculture estimated that since 2010, over 129 million trees have died due to the drought and bark beetle infestations. For that same reason, the Sierra National Forest lost 36.1 million trees over the last five years.