A helicopter responding to the Fairview wildfire near Hemet, California crashed in Banning, CA on Saturday. The crash left three people injured: two fire personnel and the pilot. The Riverside County Fire Department responded to the scene near the Banning Airport. Apparently, the helicopter was attempting to land at the airport when it crashed.
The pilot and two passengers were extricated successfully from the helicopter and transported to a local hospital. According to a report from the New York Post, the three sustained moderate injuries. There is no further information at this time.
Helicopter Crashes Carrying Fire Personnel: What We Know About the Fairview Fire
Currently, the Fairview wildfire, located near Hemet, CA, around the area of Bautista Canyon, has burned 28,307 acres. It is 45 percent contained and has been active for 5 days, according to Cal Fire reports. On Thursday, September 8, the fire was only 5 percent contained, but wet weather from hurricane Kay helped douse the flames slightly.
Two civilians have died and one was severely injured after trying to flee the fire together in a car. Over 5,000 structures are threatened as of Saturday, September 10, and officials report that 1,500 homes have so far been evacuated. Many evacuation orders were decreased to warnings as fire crews got a handle on the spread.
“We had no growth last night with the fire, which was great,” said Cal Fire spokesperson Richard Cordova to KTLA on Saturday. “Luckily, the (storm) system came over us. We had nice, steady rain which didn’t allow any flooding, and it helped firefighters create more containment lines.”
Cal Fire predicts that the fire will be fully contained by Monday, September 12. As of today, 2,000 firefighters are continuing to battle the Fairview fire in Riverside County, California.
Yosemite National Park Currently Battling Several Wildfires
In more California wildfire news, Yosemite National Park is currently dealing with “several” wildfires. The largest, Red fire, is burning 7,340 acres at the moment. It began on August 4 and is still active, but it’s been moving slowly for a wildfire. It was ignited by lightning at 7,800 feet of elevation and is burning through the same area as the Hoover Fire in 2001.
Additionally, crews are working to contain the second largest fire, the Rodgers wildfire. Rodgers has burned 2,576 acres so far since August 8, and there are 45 personnel working to contain it. This one was also ignited by lightning at 8,100 feet of elevation.
In a statement, Yosemite National Park cited dead and downed trees in the park as contributing factors to the fires’ continued spread. The Aspen, Ranch, and Alder fires are currently at 100 percent containment or being fully repressed. Aspen burned 26 acres, Ranch was a lightning strike on a single tree, and Alder burned two trees.