Helicopters are an integral part of life where I live. Possibly more so than anywhere else I've been. Though Vancouver is an Olympic city, world center for film, visual effects, video game design and technology start ups, our frontier roots aren't far behind us. Massive rugged mountains and a fjords are all around us.
This was top of mind today, spent North of Whistler in a small ex-logging town called Pemberton. Also home to one of Canada's best golf courses. As we golfed helicopters of all breed looped through the valley to control damage from heavy thundershowers last night. Some carrying buckets of water, others fire retardant and others teams of rap-attack ground fire fighters. At time four and five helo were in the air coming and going from base making long treks into the deep deep wilderness.
It got me thinking how much a part of life in this part of the world is enabled by helicopters. Originally for logging and mineral exploration, still a major activity. Though unlike states such as Oregon or Montana we are somewhat ashamed of our logging heritage. Maybe that's just being Canadian and ashamed of everything, or the fact the extensive and at times violent anti-logging protests shaped much of the 80's.
As resort towns were being built the mega Sikorsky CH-53E Super Stallion heavy lift hauled massive lift towers up the quickly growing ski hills. Then as winter arrived the sounds of avalanche bombs echoing down the valley as dawn rose indicated a good powder day ahead. Ask an avid skier or snowboarder whether they prefer an A-Star or the Bell, and they know you're going heli-skiing. Though the A-Star is more nimble, my long legs prefer the Bell, but either one will do. Here's one in actino:
Though recreational uses are nice and resource exploration is a major part of our economy, right or wrong, the use for fire fighting is always vexing. Fire is a natural part of forest life, and every year a forest doesn't burn the more fuel builds up on the ground. Thus, when it does burn, it burns hotter and more destructively. Rather than just the brush burning swiftly and the bark getting a good singe with the tree carrying on living, the fires now consume everything. Violently at that.
Making a tangential leap to the current economic climate it's an interesting exercise to think whether there are any situations where we're trying to save something by throwing money at it, only for it to burn hotter and more destructively down the line. Might be a car company, insurance operation and maybe a over leverage media group or two in that camp. You can decide for yourself.