Wildfires Claim Firefighters

Wildfires this year continue to claim firefighters' lives.

The nine killed in the helicopter crash in California on Tuesday night brings to 16 the number of wildland fire-related fatalities this year, according to USFA statistics.

The Sikorsky S-61 helicopter crashed near the north end of the so-called Buckhorn Fire during takeoff at about 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

The crash site is located in the California's Trinity Alps Wilderness in the vicinity of USNG: 10T EL 23 41.

Eleven firefighters died in 2007 while engaged in or responding to wildland fires.

The report shows that the only aircraft firefighting death of 2007 occurred when a helicopter hit trees during a supply drop-off operation. The pilot was killed.

Also, there were no multiple firefighter fatality incidents involving wildland battles in 2007, for only the second year in over a decade.

In 2006, 22 firefighters were killed while battling wildfires, while 19 were killed in 2005; 21 in 2004; 30 in 2003 and 23 in 2002, the USFA reported.

All those killed aboard the helicopter, including the pilot, will be counted by the USFA.

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