Owl flies inside helicopter to help pilot fighting wildfire

Last year California was devastated by historic wildfires, which caused billions of dollars in widespread damage. Pets and wildlife also suffered from these fires, but thankfully many firefighters and rescue workers stepped up to help them.

And in one sweet story, nature decided to thank one of these rescuers.

As the massive Creek Fire burned through the California wilderness, Dan Alpiner, a helicopter pilot with Sky Aviation, stepped up to help. He took to the air with giant buckets of water, continually dousing the flames to put them out.


It was important work — and it seems his job didn’t go unnoticed. A fellow flyer seemed to appreciate what he was doing, and decided to hop in the helicopter mid-flight.

It was an owl!

“I saw this flutter out of the corner of my eye,” Dan Alpiner told The Dodo. “I looked over, a little spooked, and we locked eyes.”


It was something no one had ever seen before.

“It’s odd to have an owl enter an aircraft,” Sky Aviation told KSEE/KGPE. “It’s unheard of to have it enter while the helo is in-flight.”

Weirder still, the owl stuck around the cockpit, calmly keeping Alpiner company. It was as if the owl understood that he was working to save the wilderness, and the owl wanted to help.

“Well, let’s go do some work here, buddy,” the pilot told the owl, according to The Dodo.

With the owl by his side, Alpiner continued to carry buckets of water into the air, helping to put out the flames.

Then, when the job was done, the owl peacefully took off,” “safe and unannounced.”

And it’s safe to say this was one co-pilot he’ll remember forever.

“I’m still trying to comprehend it. It was just unreal,” Alpiner told The Dodo. “It was one of those once-in-a-lifetime kind of things.”

What an incredible moment! It really does feel like nature thanking these heroes for helping to put out the wildfires.

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