Helicopter Down on Cali wildfire

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Aug 3, 2005
Prescott, AZ
Helitanker 790 crashed into the Klamath River in Northern CA while working the Happy Camp Fire , Unknow cause at this time, both pilot and co-pilot were killed

Incident Command Page of AZ


Jun 22, 2006
Hesperia, SoCal

Our heart and Prayers goes out to their families. Living close to a Tanker Base in SoCal. We see 790 fly over head several times. In fact, 790 was just here a few weeks ago working the fire near Big Bear.


Sep 15, 2004
As stories point out, it was a contract helicopter with non-FS pilots.


This story is taken from Metro/Regional News at sacbee.com.

2 die as copter crashes at fire
Crew was aiding fight against Siskiyou blazes

By Christine Vovakes -- Bee Correspondent

Published 12:01 am PDT Sunday, August 6, 2006

Two pilots died after a long day battling wildfires when their
helicopter suddenly plunged into the Klamath River near the town of
Happy Camp on Friday night.

The men, whose bodies were recovered Saturday by the Siskiyou County
sheriff's dive team, worked for a private company under contract with
the U.S. Forest Service.

Siskiyou County sheriff's officials, who found the men's bodies about
10 miles from Happy Camp, identified the pilot as Terry Wayne Jacobs,
48, of Wofford. The co-pilot's name will be released after relatives
living outside the United States have been notified, spokeswoman Susan
Gravenkamp said.

Both men worked for Heavy Lift Helicopters Inc., of Apple Valley in
Southern California.

Members of the Federal Aviation Administration and National
Transportation Safety Board are investigating the cause of the crash.

The huge Sikorsky helicopter, called a Type-1 by forest officials, was
assigned to the Titus fire, one of two fires in the Happy Camp Complex
wildfire still burning since lightning sparked nearly a dozen blazes in
Siskiyou County two weeks ago.

The aircraft that crashed was one of three helicopters that had been
scooping buckets of water from Marble Mountain Wilderness lakes to dump
onto the persistent string of wildfires.

The pilots also dropped supplies to fire crews who spent the night in
the rugged, barely accessible terrain rather than return to the Happy
Camp home base, Gravenkamp said.

Happy Camp Complex fire information officer Niko King said the
helicopters are key to fighting the fire. "The contour here is just
straight up and down," King said.

The fires are threatening two campgrounds, the Happy Camp watershed,
and numerous American Indian cultural and spiritual sites. They have
forced complete closure of the Marble Mountain Wilderness, a part of
the Klamath National Forest that is popular for hiking, fishing,
camping and mule-packing trips.

The section of the Pacific Crest Trail that wends through the area also
is closed, but transportation to a detour drop-off is being provided,
King said.

About 500 personnel are involved in fighting the Happy Camp Complex
wildfire. The Goff fire is nearly suppressed, but the 2,500-acre Titus
fire is only 25 percent contained, officials said.

Steep banks line both sides of the Klamath River where the orange and
white helicopter went down near Independence Bridge on Highway 96.

The aircraft broke into several pieces, King said, with parts of the
rotor strewn in all directions and a large portion of the fuselage in
the water that is about 5 feet deep in midsummer.

"Debris is scattered on the east bank and in the water," King said.

A long segment of the river, which is popular with rafters, will remain
closed to watercraft and recreational users until the recovery and
investigation are complete.

No fixed wing aircraft have worked the fires. Smoke from the Titus and
Goff fires grounded the helicopters for part of Thursday but they were
back in the air on Friday, King said.


Sep 15, 2004

2 killed in fire copter crash: Bodies pulled from the Klamath River;
cause still unknown

By Constance Dillon, Record Searchlight
August 6, 2006

HAPPY CAMP -- A sheriff's dive team recovered Saturday the bodies of two
men killed Friday evening when their fire-fighting helicopter crashed
into the Klamath River about 10 miles southwest of here, the Siskiyou
County Sheriff's Department reported.

The bodies of pilot Terry Wayne Jacobs, 48, of Wofford Heights in Kern
County and his yet unnamed co-pilot were taken from the water about 4
p.m. Saturday.

The identity of the co-pilot will not be released until his family, who
live outside the United States, have been notified, said sheriff's
spokeswoman Susan Gravenkamp.

Autopsies are planned for this week.

There was no one else in the aircraft. Both men were employed by Heavy
Lift Helicopters Inc. of Apple Valley, about 80 miles northeast of Los

The Sikorsky helicopter was assigned to help fight the Happy Camp
Complex of wildfires, said Skye Sieber, a U.S. Forest Service
spokeswoman. The Happy Camp Complex is a series of lightning-caused
fires that began last month and have burned 2,843 acres in the Klamath
National Forest. The fire was 25 percent contained as of Saturday.

Sieber was uncertain if the helicopter was being used to drop water on
the fire or to deliver personnel or supplies.

A team from the National Transportation Safety Board was expected to
join the investigation Saturday at the crash site along Highway 96 near
Independence Creek to help determine the cause of the crash.

Helicopters have been used to fight wildland fires since 1947, according
to the U.S. Forest Service Web site. The agency keeps 500 helicopters
contracted for such use.

In July 2004, Robert Dalberg of Aris Helicopters in San Jose and Bill
Baxter of the California Department of Fire and Forestry Protection's
Mendocino unit were seriously injured when their helicopter crashed over
the 3,240-acre Straylor Fire 20 miles southeast of Fall River Mills, in
northwest Lassen County.

Two north state men -- pilot Bruce Harrison, 48, of Redding and Terry
Hillenburg, 53, of Weaverville -- were injured in August 2002, when
their helicopter crash-landed while attempting a water drop on a
Colorado wildfire.

Reporter Constance Dillon can be reached at 225-8372 or at


Dec 19, 2002
Kern County, CA
A lot of management teams are made up from members all over the state and country. A Captain I know has a person from Michigan on his Type 1 team, or he could be a single resource. Once you can get into the system and get known you can go all over, just like the USAR's.


Jun 27, 2003
RolnCode3 said:
Niko King is the PIO for Sacramento City Fire. Strange that he's up there as PIO.

Apparently, an incident command team from Sacto has up there shadowing the Forestry incident command team, most likely as a training exercise.

From Inciweb - http://inciweb.org/incident/361/

"The [Sacramento] Urban Area Security Iniative (UASI) Type 3 "Shadow Team" played an active role in the response and mitigation phases of Friday evening's helicopter accident. The team has expertise in law enforcement, hazardous materials, and fire response."
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