Before she settled back into Fall classes at Rocky Mountain College, a young woman from Billings, Montana was making national news. More importantly, she was helping to save lives and homes across the West.

You may have seen the news stories featuring 19 year old Ashli Blain. She spent the summers fighting fires as a Chinook helicopter pilot at only 19 years old.

She's now back home in Billings and will join us on Monday's Montana Talks statewide radio show around 940 a.m.

NBC Montana was one of the first outlets to feature her story in early September as she was assisting with the largest fire in California history:

 

"I've been around airplanes and helicopters pretty much since I was born," said Ashli Blain, a pilot with Billings Flying Service. "My mom always likes to tell me that she put me in a helicopter two weeks after I was born to go to a party, and apparently everyone thought she was nuts."

 

She told NBC Montana that she's been flying since she was 13. As folks in Billings know, the Blain family is synonymous with aviation. They have Billings Flying Service which is up near the airport, and is an incredible hangar if you've never had the opportunity to check it out from the inside.

Her story was recently featured nationally on CBS News. WSFB-TV reports that her first fire season was 2019, when she quickly realized how much she stood out- and not just because of her age.

In what is a male-dominated field, she is a copilot in the Chinook Helicopter and a command pilot in the Blackhawk.

"You have briefings every morning at the fires where they talk about what you're going to be doing for the day. And I always think it's funny because you look around and there's only maybe two other girls there," Blaine said.

Catch Ashli Blain on Montana Talks by tuning in to one of the stations listed below, or listen live at MontanaTalks.com

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Billings: Newstalk 95.5 and 95.1 FM, 970 AM KBUL

Bozeman: 1450 KMMS

Livingston: 1340 KPRK

Missoula: AM930 and 99.7 FM KMPT

Kalispell: 880AM and 107.9 FM KJJR

Glendive: 1400AM and 103.1FM KXGN

ForsythKIKC 1250 AM, 94.5FM

Lewistown: 1230AM and 106.9FM

Wolf Point: 92.7FM KVCK

Fort Peck: 107.1FM KVCK

Shelby: 1150AM KSEN

Great Falls102.7FM KINX

Helena: 95.9FM KCAP

Butte: 1370 AM and 94.7 FM KXTL

Scobey: 95.7FM KCGM

Plentywood: 100.1FM KATQ