This is how it goes. Climb in the back seat of the helicopter behind the pilot. There's not a lot of room there with the machine there and the eggs you feed it, spheres that will drop fire onto the forest below. Make sure the tether on your harness is connected, because your door will be off. Fasten your seatbelt. Check the machine, and check it again. You're ready.
The flight is low and slow, but you are used to it. You know it's hazardous, but you've done it so often. Even though there are only thin layers of metal between you and the air, even though you've lost friends to accidents, you never really expect anything to go wrong. And usually it doesn't. Until it does.
The details are slow in coming, but the person in the back survived Monday's crash in Mississippi. The pilot and the front passenger did not. I know the survivor, so I won't share too much here. But all his brother and sister firefighters are thinking of him tonight.