At his summer home in northern Wisconsin, Lake Forest resident and aviator Jack Vilas took the Chief Forester on a flight on June 29, 1915.

Vilas demonstrated the plane’s utility in spotting forest fires, impressing the chief forester. Vilas was appointed a flying fire warden and flew patrols throughout the summer. That fall, an article in American Forestry magazine ran an article on the program and it was quickly copied around the country.[1]

[1]Forest Service History—Peeling Back the Bark [online] "June 29, 1915 - First Aerial Fire Patrol Took Flight"; by Jamie Lewis; updated June 29, 2011; accessed 4/27/2017.