As wildfires continue to burn through forest and grasslands in California, Oregon and Washington, a huge force of men and women from across the nation have been sent to west coast states to help battle the blazes. Reuters says there are over 17,000 firefighters currently fighting fires in California alone, plus thousands more in Oregon and Washington. Slowly but surely, they are starting to get the upper hand on the historic blazes. Nearly five million acres have burned since Labor Day and we've obviously been experiencing heavy smoke from the fires drifting across Montana.

Billings Flying Service, founded by local brothers Al and Gary Blain in 1983, has been heavily involved in firefighting efforts across the West and around the world for years. One of their best tools for the job is their fleet of Chinook CH-47 helicopters. These thundering sky-beasts feature two engines, each generating 5,000 horsepower. In this video, company president Gary Blain explains why these big Chinook's and their specially designed fire suppression gear is perfectly designed for the task of quenching fires.

On their website, Billings Flying Service details some of their equipment and contracts with various state and federal agencies,

Billings Flying Service utilizes both external mounted fire buckets and belly tanks for fire suppression.  We hold Oregon and California state contracts and often do work for the United States Forest Service, Department of Interior, Montana DNRC, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and Bureau of Land Management.

The company also provides flying service of all types, including Screen Actors Guild pilots and they've worked on various film projects like Suicide Squad and Need For Speed.

The full-service flight company provides helicopters for government contracts, the oil and gas industry, power line work and basically anywhere skilled pilots are needed around the world. And when Santa flies over the Billings area every Christmas Eve, you can thank the awesome crew at Billings Flying Service.

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