The Chief of the Pine-Strawberry Fire District (Arizona) has confirmed that the pilot onboard a helicopter that crashed while battling the Polles Fire is dead. Chief Gary Morris said the helicopter crashed outside the fire lines for the Polles Fire. The helicopter was on fire, and other air attack resources were brought in to extinguish the fire. The pilot’s family, according to Gary, has arrived in the Payson area, and authorities are working to retrieve the Firefighter’s body.
The helicopter pilot came from a family of Firefighters, and his father is retired from a Valley (Phoenix area) fire department. The Bell UH-1H helicopter crashed 10 miles west of Payson, under unknown circumstances and was not carrying any passengers at the time.
The Polles Fire has burned 580 acres west of Payson as of Tuesday and is zero percent contained. The fire currently does not threaten any communities. Our condolences to all those affected. Rest In Peace.