In 1958, Jim Thurston acquired a pilot's license, purchased an airplane on floats, and started accumulating experience flying in remote areas. Because wildfire management and other BLM programs in Alaska require extensive aircraft support, the BLM had an Aircraft Division, which years later invited Thurston to join their ranks, and he did—in effect starting a new career. Because of his fire control experience, Thurston initially started out by running the air tanker firefighting program. Later, he flew a Learjet on high-altitude thunderstorm patrols to detect storms producing lightning fires. Also, he designed a comprehensive aircraft cost accounting system to guide decisions affecting aircraft acquisition and maintenance. Eventually, Thurston was chosen to form a task force to evaluate the various aircraft programs throughout the department and recommend changes. In 1973, the decision was made to create a department-level Office of Aircraft Services (OAS) to consolidate the management of Interior's aviation programs under one roof. Its stated management objectives were to raise aviation safety standards, improve department-wide aviation efficiency, and achieve economic savings. He was assigned to the position of OAS director. This book contains a mixture of exciting ground and aerial firefighting narratives, colorful Alaskan aviation anecdotes, photos, and Thurston's tumultuous experiences fighting to establish the Department of the Interior's Office of Aircraft Services.