BELGRADE- With wildfire season in full effect, Bridger Aerospace is working to help contain and extinguish blazes on the ground through the air.
Bridger Aerospace started in 2014 by Founder and Chief Executive Officer Timothy Sheehy in Belgrade.
Sheehy is a former Navy SEAL, Purple Heart recipient, and also the CEO of Ascent Vision.
Bridger Aerospace’s Chief Operating Officer Darren Wilkins said the company has doubled in size in employees and aircraft as well.
“People drive by the hangar and they stop by taking pictures and they want to know more about you know ‘what are you doing out here, what is this aircraft, this big red and yellow aircraft?” Wilkins explained.
Wilkins is referring to the CL-415EAF Superscooper and they look to house six of them in their hangars by 2022.
Aircrafts like the Superscooper provide the much-needed aerial support for firefighters on the ground who need it most Wilkins said.
“Those guys are our customers we want to make sure that they get the support they need when they’re in harm’s way, we also want to support the communities, everybody’s homes, the cities, the towns that fires can threaten,” Wilkins said.
With more than 20 aircrafts and 75 employees, Wilkins aid a good chunk of them are from the Belgrade and Bozeman area and a handful graduated from Montana State University.
“The high-quality people that we get from MSU have been absolutely phenomenal, they’ve helped take this company to the next level because of their dedication to not only their job but to make this company grow within the community itself,” Wilkins said. “We would not be where we are today if we had been anywhere else other than Bozeman, this has been a phenomenal community and it’s really neat to see how the community comes together to support a young company like we are.”
When you add that generous support with a thriving company plus the peak of wildfire season, you can see Bridger Aerospace’s water tankers flying all across the county.
“We’ve got planes all over the U.S. right now mostly in the west, but we’ve gone out this season as far out as Miami,” Wilkins said. “It’s comforting to see that our planes are able to support that but it’s really neat to see how the company has grown and we’re able to support the entire western half of the U.S. all from headquarters here in Belgrade.”
More information on Bridger Aerospace can be found here.