Young Woman Fire Fighter Helps Battle the Ferguson Fire in California

Post by A Mighty Girl, first published on Facebook here. I’m so impressed by Ann. Safe flying!


19-year-old Ann Hansen is helping battle the Ferguson Fire in California — behind the controls of a firefighting helicopter!

The Mighty Girl from Philipsburg, Montana has been co-piloting a Sikorsky S-64 Skycrane, dropping water and fire retardant to douse flames and prevent the fire from spreading.

“At most times out here, people ask if I’m with my dad or grandpa,” she says. “I look young for my age, like I’m still in high school.”

As a relatively new pilot, Ann is eager to take on new challenges and is not deterred by the risky flying:

“Everything we do has a little risk [but] it’s fun, for one, and you’re helping with something.”

Growing up, Ann was fascinated by the crop dusters that would fly above the ranch where her father was a manager, and dreamed of flying one day.

So ten days after she graduated from high school last year, she enrolled in flight school in Montana, and then later at a helicopter school in Oregon.

“I never had any previous aviation experience. It was overwhelming,” she admits.

But she persisted, earned her license, and now works for Helicopter Transport Services, where she has the opportunity to take on special projects — including fire fighting jobs.

“It just depends where they need me to go,” she says. “The challenge is fun.”

In California, Hansen has been flying with Gregg Deacon for several weeks, who says she quickly proved herself.

“I’ve been very impressed with her, especially considering her minimal amount of experience,” he says. “It’s a complex aircraft and our mission is complex. She’s monitoring a lot of instruments and dealing with most of the radio calls. She’s doing a lot of multitasking. And we go into some difficult types of places.”

For Hansen, it’s been fulfilling to help communities threatened by the fire and great experience towards her goal of becoming a PIC, or pilot in charge, the equivalent of a captain.

As to where the future will take her, Ann says, “there is still a lot to explore.”

A Mighty Girl wishes Ann safe flying!

To read more in the Mariposa Gazette, visit

For two excellent books to give all Mighty Girls the confidence to pursue their dreams like Ann, we highly recommend “The Confidence Code for Girls” for ages 8 to 12 ( and “The Self-Esteem Workbook for Teens” ages 13 and up (

For two fun stories starring Mighty Girls who dream of flying – both for ages 4 to 8 – we recommend “Violet the Pilot” ( and “Rosie Revere, Engineer” (

For young children interested in firefighting, there’s a Magnetic Dress Up Career Doll for ages 3 to 6 which includes a firefighter among its career options at

And, for books to encourage Mighty Girls to go after their dreams at every age, check out our blog post, “Big Dreams: 30 Books to Inspire Your Mighty Girl,” at


We welcome guest posts about adventurous women in the real world. Details here.


Beth Barany writes magical tales of romance, mystery, and adventure that empower women and girls to be the heroes of their own lives.Award-winning novelist of Henrietta The Dragon Slayer, the first book in a trilogy by the same name, Beth Barany writes in several genres including young adult adventure fantasy, paranormal romance, and soon science fiction mysteries. Inspired by living abroad in France and Quebec, she loves creating magical tales of romance, mystery, and adventure that empower women and girls to be the heroes of their own lives.

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