Montana Trooper, Deputy, Rescue Crew of Helicopter Crash – Fire Season Hell in Montana

As Montana Trooper Amanda Villa was patrolling the area near the Deep Creek Fire, a Department of Natural Resources fire helicopter was caught in high winds and crashed as it attempted to land. The helicopter flipped on its side and caught fire. Villa, with an unidentified Broadwater County Deputy and a ‘good Samaritan’ ran to rescue the 5 person crew and pulled them out of the wreckage. The helicopter burst into flames just after.

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Only one of the crew members had minor injuries, the others appeared to be okay, according to Montana Trooper Villa. The fire sparked by the helicopter crash was handled by fire crews. All helo crew members were evaluated and treated at local hospitals (Billings Clinic Broadwater in Townsend and St. Peter’s Health in Helena).

“I’m just glad that me and the deputy were right there when it happened and able to get everybody out quickly. All things considered it was a lot better than it could have been.”

MHP Trooper Amanda Villa to KPVI

In Broadwater County, the Deep Creek Canyon Fire has doubled in size over the past few days. As of June 17, the blaze stretched 4,600 acres.

Inciweb via MSN

The Deep Creek Fire is in Broadwater County, Montana (East of Helena), and as of June 17 had reached over 4,600 acres. By June 19, it had slowed to 4,647 acres due to a break in the weather. It is one of three major fires burning in Montana as of this weekend.

The fire, which Broadwater County Sheriff Wynn Meehan said was caused by a downed power line in the south end of the Big Belt Mountains in the Townsend Ranger District of the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest, was reported about 3:45 p.m. Sunday. The forest service said responders saw a fallen tree had caused a downed power line, however, they said the cause of the fire was still under investigation.

Earlier in the day, the U.S. Forest Service posted that its plans were for ground crews to keep building hand lines and dozer lines directly along the fire’s perimeter. It said helicopters will be used to support the ground crews throughout the fire and along the fire’s perimeter. A reconnaissance flight was ordered for Tuesday to get a good visual of the entire fire.

Photos of the Deep Creek fire via the Forest Service

The helicopter crash occurred from the high winds what were driving the Deep Creek Fire. It is extremely fortunate for the crew that the Montana trooper and the others were there when it happened. From the photo taken by Cory Swanson, it appears the crash was life-threatening.

Montana Trooper Amanda Villa is a US Army Reserve Veteran who has been with the Montana Highway Patrol for 7 years. She is assigned to the Helena unit.

I always wanted a career where I could help others, serve my community, and make a difference. I was serving in the Army Reserves overseas and someone recommended that I look into a job with MHP. After researching MHP it seemed to be the perfect fit for me.

Montana Trooper Amanda Villa


Featured photo: Broadwater County Attorney Cory Swanson/ Montana Highway Patrol photo of Amanda Villa

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