A Coulson Aviation CH-47 sits on the ramp of a Chilean airport, but unlike other days where it sat poised and ready to depart at a moments notice to fight fires around Chile, or in previous months in Bolivia, this time the giant dual rotor beast sits with its rotors off awaiting its loading into the giant Antonov 124 cargo ship to return to its base in Port Alberni, British Columbia to undergo heavy maintenance before being again ready to answer the call for fires around the world.

A Coulson-Unical CH-47 prepares for transport home to British Columbia from Chile. Coulson Aviation photo

A Coulson-Unical CH-47 prepares for transport home to British Columbia from Chile. Coulson Aviation photo

Similarly, on a dock in Corio Bay, Victoria, Australia, five of the six Erickson Air Cranes sit in a similar pre-shipping appearance, each of its six massive rotor blades removed as each is prepared for its next mission, several returning to the Erickson Incorporated base for scheduled maintenance after their long stint fighting the record fires in Australia, others already packed inside a ship that will soon be headed for the shores of Greece to begin fighting fires there.

Erickson Air Cranes "Elsie" and "Delilah" are prepped for shipping to Greece after their season in Australia. Erickson Air Crane image.

Erickson Air Cranes “Elsie” and “Delilah” are prepped for shipping to Greece after their season in Australia. Erickson Air Crane image.

The helicopter fleet from the United States and Canada now joins its fixed-wing brethren who have departed over the past few weeks like the Erickson Aero Tankers and 10 Tanker Air Carrier Aircraft that have made their way back to their U.S. bases of operation after a long and arduous fire season in Australia that saw only one of two Coulson Aviation C-130’s make the return trip as Tanker 134, a Coulson C-130 was tragically lost in a crash outside of Canberra in January.

Australia’s unprecedented fire season saw a response from aerial firefighting teams deploying hundreds of U.S. and Canadian pilots and support crews, that will now head home for some well-earned rest before again answering the call, wherever they are needed.