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  • Crash Kills Pilot in Washington

    Helicopter crashes at McGinnis Creek fire

    Authorities have identified the helicopter pilot who died yesterday while dropping water on a Colville Indian Reservation Fire in northeastern Washington. 44-year-old Randall Harmon was from Grants Pass, Oregon, and had 20 years experience fighting wildfires as a chopper pilot.
    Rescuers were sent to the scene about three miles northwest of Keller. The chopper went down about 5:00 Friday night.

    The pilot had been making water drops along the north side of the McGinnis Flats fire. The fire, at 2 thousand 217 acres, was reported 70 percent contained today.

    Fire spokesman Nick Mickel said a small fire started where the helicopter crashed, but it was quickly controlled.


    http://www.kxly.com/common/getStory.asp?id=30254
    Buckle Up, Slow Down, Arrive Alive
    "Everybody Goes Home"

    IACOJ 2003

  • #2
    NTSB

    KELLER, Wash. (AP) - Investigators with the National
    Transportation Safety Board on Sunday took their first close look
    at the wreckage of a helicopter that crashed while fighting the
    McGinnis Flats fire, killing the pilot.
    Randall Harmon, 44, of Grants Pass, Ore., was the only one on
    board the Kaman K-1200 when it went down Friday while dropping
    water on the fire.
    Investigators with the Washington State Patrol were helping the
    NTSB chart the distribution of the wreckage, which could shed light
    on what caused the helicopter to crash.
    Superior Helicopter LLC based in Grants Pass, Ore., owned the
    aircraft. The day after the crash, company spokesman Andy Mills
    said, "We have no indications whatsoever what happened. Whatever
    happened happened quickly. That's all we know."
    Officials said it could take crash investigators six months to
    determine what caused the helicopter to go down.
    Calls to the NTSB's Seattle office were not immediately returned
    on Sunday.
    An experienced helicopter pilot, Harmon was the first person
    killed fighting wildfires in Washington state this year. His death
    came three days after two helitack firefighters in Idaho were
    killed when they were overrun by flames in the Salmon-Challis
    National Forest.
    In eastern Arizona, a helicopter carrying three firefighters
    crashed on Sunday, killing one firefighter and the pilot and
    injuring another two firefighters.
    The McGinnis Flats fire started July 18 and has burned about
    2,233 acres on the Colville Indian Reservation. It remained about
    70 percent contained on Sunday. There were more 600 firefighters
    working the fire.
    An explosives crew was sent to burn fire lines on the
    northwestern edge of the blaze in the Brush Creek drainage, where
    the terrain was too rocky and steep for firefighters to use hand
    tools, fire information officer Koshare Lomnicki said.
    Temperatures were expected to reach as high as 97 degrees on
    Sunday, with winds of 8-12 mph and gusts of up to 20 mph.
    "With the winds and the temperature, we do have the potential
    for increased fire behavior - torching trees and spotting,
    particularly in the Brush Creek drainage," Lomnicki said.
    Investigators said the McGinnis Flats fire was human caused and
    has cost more than $3.8 million to fight since it started on July
    18.
    There have been no serious injuries from any of the other
    wildfires now burning in Washington, which have charred more than
    90,000 acres.
    About 60 miles northwest of Keller, officials monitoring the
    63,597-acre Farewell Creek fire said crews had made significant
    progress digging containment lines east of the blaze and west of
    Loomis State Forest.
    "We've got great lines in," fire information officer Chris
    Papen said Sunday. "Two hot-shot crews stayed overnight so they
    could work on it hot and heavy."
    Firefighters were widening existing roads and trails, trying to
    keep it from spreading to the 134,000-acre forest, which includes
    state trust lands where logging proceeds are used to build public
    schools.
    The fire remained about 35 percent contained on Sunday. More
    than 1,400 firefighters were battling the blaze, which was started
    by lightning June 29. It has cost about $21 million to fight so
    far.
    ---
    On the Net:
    Northwest Interagency Fire Coordination Center:
    www.or.blm.gov/nwcc/
    Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest: www.fs.fed.us/r6/oka
    Farewell Creek fire: www.fawnpeak.com

    (Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

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