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Thread: 2 Die In Arizona Copter Crash Near Wildfire

  1. #1
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    2 Die In Arizona Copter Crash Near Wildfire

    2 Die In Arizona Copter Crash Near Wildfire

    ANABELLE GARAY
    Associated Press

    Phoenix--A helicopter carrying three elite firefighters crashed Saturday morning, killing one firefighter and the pilot and injuring the other two on board, officials said.

    The identities of the two who died were not immediately known, said Mike Todd, a spokesman for Native Air Ambulance. The injured crew members were transported to hospitals, where they were listed in stable condition Saturday night.

    The contract helicopter was taking firefighters from the Bureau of Indian Affairs to begin an initial attack on a fire in the Aspen Ridge area, said Margo Whitt, a fire information officer. The helicopter crashed about 175 miles northeast of Phoenix.

    In Idaho, scores of firefighters attended a memorial service Saturday for Jeff Allen, 24, who was overrun by flames after he and a co-worker rappelled to the ground from a helicopter to fight a blaze in the Salmon-Challis National Forest.

    On Friday, a helicopter pilot was killed when his aircraft crashed while fighting a wildfire in northeastern Washington state. Randall Harmon, 44, of Grants Pass, Ore., was the only occupant of the helicopter, which went down on the Colville Indian Reservation, said fire spokesman Nick Mickel.

    The fire Harmon was fighting had burned about 2,200 acres and was 70 percent contained Saturday, authorities said. Federal and state investigators were expected at the scene Saturday and Sunday.

    In Montana, firefighters bulldozed an old road Saturday in an effort to protect the town and the Glacier National Park headquarters complex from a spreading wildfire.

    West Glacier will be evacuated if the fire moves to within three miles of town, fire information officer Andy Williams said. The town has some 250 permanent residents and grows to about 400 in summer.

    The fire had about a mile to go before reaching that trigger point, Williams said.

    Three wildfires in Glacier National Park already had chased away thousands of park visitors, and had blackened more than 40,000 acres. One fire, in the northwest portion of Glacier, destroyed six houses.

    About 1,000 people were evacuated in Southern California's Riverside County, where about 200 houses were considered in danger after a fire quickly burned more than 4,300 acres, moving along rocky canyon ridges in the San Jacinto area. The residents were allowed to return home Saturday night.

    In nearby Kern County, an 1,200-acre blaze spread into Sequoia National Forest but was heading away from groves of the forest's famed giant redwood trees.

    In north-central Washington, a 64,000-acre blaze was four to six miles west of Loomis State Forest and could continue to burn _ eventually charring up to 190,000 acres _ until heavy rain or early snow, authorities estimated.

    Both the Loomis fire in Washington and Montana's Glacier fire were heading toward Canada. The Loomis fire was within four miles of the border and U.S. fire managers have met with their Canadian counterparts to discuss strategy should the blaze cross into British Columbia.

    Firefighters in Montana were doing much of their work by hand because Glacier officials were determined not to let mechanized equipment run roughshod over the park's fragile landscape.

    ``It's a natural park and fire is a natural thing. Sometimes we can do more damage trying to put it out than we would by letting it burn,'' said Jack Potter, chief ranger.

    Fire specialists and other state and federal officials have told Montana Gov. Judy Martz that the state should brace for a wildfire season worse than 2000, when about 1 million acres burned.


    http://cms.firehouse.com/content/art...7&sectionId=39

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    Funeral Planned For Firefighter Killed In Arizona Copter Crash

    Funeral Planned For Firefighter Killed In Arizona Copter Crash


    Bureau of Indian Affairs

    Whiteriver, AZ (July 31, 2003) - A memorial service is scheduled for August 2, 2003, at 1:00 P.M., in Whiteriver, AZ to honor fallen fire fighter Randall Bonito Jr., 32, who was killed on July 26th, in a helicopter crash.

    The memorial service will be held at the Chief Alchesey Activity Center, located next to the high school on Falcon Way, off Arizona Highway 73. A funeral service for Randall Bonito Jr. will follow the memorial service.

    Jess Pearce, 50, of Peoria, AZ, the pilot of the aircraft, was also killed in the same crash and will be honored at a memorial scheduled for 10:00 A.M., August 2nd, at the LDS Church, 22034 N. 83rd Avenue in Peoria, Arizona. Two other helitack crewmembers, Kristy Johnson, 30, of Cibecue, AZ and Floyd Walker, 37, of the Seven Mile community of Whiteriver, were injured in the crash and remain hospitalized.

    The helitack crew was responding to reports of smoke in the area of Aspen Ridge, on the White Mountain Apache Reservation, when the helicopter went down.

    The White Mountain Apache Tribe and the Ft. Apache Agency of the BIA offer their sincerest sympathies to the families of the deceased in this time of grief and sadness. The memorial service for Randall Bonito Jr. is open to the public, and fire fighters and others acquainted with the family are welcome to attend.

    http://cms.firehouse.com/content/art...2&sectionId=39

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    Bonito, Jr., Randall

    Age: 32
    Cause of Death: Struck By/Contact with Object
    Rank: Firefighter/Helitack Crewmember
    Nature of Death: Internal Trauma
    Status: Career
    Emergency Duty: Yes

    Incident Date: 07/26/2003
    Duty Type: Fireground Operations
    Incident Time: 10:35
    Activity Type: Riding Vehicle/Apparatus
    Death Date: 07/26/2003
    Fixed Prop. Use: Outdoor Property

    Fire Dept. Info:
    BIA Fire Management
    P.O. Box 560
    Whiteriver , Arizona 85941
    Chief: George Leech

    Initial Summary:
    Firefighter Bonito and the pilot (name/info pending) of a helicopter were both killed when for a cause still to be determined the helicopter crashed while taking firefighters from the Bureau of Indian Affairs to begin an initial attack on a fire in the Aspen Ridge area of Arizona.

    Memorial Fund Info:
    Firefighter Bonito and the pilot (name/info pending) of a helicopter were both killed when for a cause still to be determined the helicopter crashed while taking firefighters from the Bureau of Indian Affairs to begin an initial attack on a fire in the Aspen Ridge area of Arizona.



    http://www.usfa.fema.gov/application....cfm?p_id=1430

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    Pearce, Jess

    Age: 50
    Cause of Death: Struck By/Contact with Object
    Rank: Pilot
    Nature of Death: Internal Trauma
    Status: Career
    Emergency Duty: Yes

    Incident Date: 07/26/2003
    Duty Type: Fireground Operations
    Incident Time: 10:35
    Activity Type: Driving/Operating Vehicle/Apparatus
    Death Date: 07/26/2003
    Fixed Prop. Use: Outdoor Property

    Fire Dept. Info:
    BIA Fire Management
    P.O. Box 560
    Whiteriver , Arizona 85941

    Initial Summary:
    Pilot Jess Pearce and Firefighter Bonito were both killed when for a cause still to be determined the helicopter crashed while taking firefighters from the Bureau of Indian Affairs to begin an initial attack on a fire in the Aspen Ridge area of Arizona.

    Memorial Fund Info:
    Arizona Federal Credit Union Acct # 468906, (http://www.azfcu.org/). Checks can also be sent to the 100 Club (in memory of Jess Pearce), 5151 North 19th Ave., Suite 204, Phoenix, AZ 85015


    http://www.usfa.fema.gov/application....cfm?p_id=1431

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