Fires rage in several states as heat wave broils US West
July 12, 2021
Firefighters working in searing weather struggled to contain a Northern California wildfire that continued to grow Sunday and forced the temporary closure of a major highway, one of several large blazes burning across the U.S. West amid another heat wave that shattered records and strained power grids.
In Arizona, a small plane crashed Saturday during a survey of a wildfire in rural Mohave County, killing both crew members on board. The Beech C-90 aircraft was helping perform reconnaissance over the lightning-caused Cedar Basin Fire, near the tiny community of Wikieup northwest of Phoenix, when it went down around noon.
Officials on Sunday identified the victims as Air Tactical Group Supervisor Jeff Piechura, 62, a retired Tucson-area fire chief who was working for the Coronado National Forest, and Matthew Miller, 48, a pilot with Falcon Executive Aviation contracted by the U.S. Forest Service. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash.