A pilot died on Tuesday night when his single engine air tanker crashed during an air attack operation on the Schill Fire, about 2 miles southeast of Emmet.
The pilot and aircraft were based out of the SEAT base at Ontario airport, which is managed by the Bureau of Land Management — Vale District.
“Please respect the privacy of the pilot’s family and the Vale BLM fire family during this difficult time,” reads information sent from the public affairs officer on Wednesday afternoon.
According to a news release from the BLM, the crash happened at about 7 p.m. Tuesday and the pilot, Ricky Fulton, was the sole person on board the T-857.
The aircraft was owned by Aero S.E.A.T. Incorporated and was on an on-call contract with BLM Fire and Aviation at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, the release states.
Firefighters on scene reportedly attempted life-saving measures and called for LifeFlight, but Fulton did not survive.
“We offer our sincere condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of the pilot lost in this tragic accident,” said acting Boise District Manager Tanya Thrift. “This reminds us of the inherent risks involved in wildland firefighting and the gratitude we owe to the courageous and committed men and women who serve willingly to protect lives, property, and natural resources.”
The DOI Office of Aviation Services, in conjunction with the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration, is conducting an investigation into the accident.
The 30-acre Schill Fire started at about 4:30 p.m. Sept. 22 in grass and brush in steep terrain. It was contained at about 10 p.m. that night.
The cause of the Schill Fire is under investigation.
The Vale BLM will release more information about the crash as it becomes available.