EMMETT, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - A pilot flying a Single Engine Air Tanker was killed at around 7 p.m. Tuesday during an initial attack operation on the Schill Fire, about 2 miles southeast of Emmett.
The pilot was identified as Ricky Fulton. He was flying a T-857 aircraft owned by Aero S.E.A.T. Inc. Fulton was on an on-call contract with BLM Fire and Aviation at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise.
Firefighters on the scene rendered medical aid to the pilot and called for Life Flight, but the pilot did not survive his injuries.
“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 Department of Interior Office of Aviation Services, the National Transportation Safety Board, and Federal Aviation Administration are investigating the accident.
Governor Brad Little issued the following statement Wednesday:
“Tragically, a firefighter died when the single engine air tanker he was flying crashed during initial attack operations on the Schill Fire near Emmett Tuesday. Our hearts are heavy. The death of a firefighter is felt deeply and emotionally in the firefighting community. Pray for comfort for the pilot's family and colleagues, and please do your part to prevent needless wildfires. I am ordering American flags and State of Idaho flags to be flown at half-staff in honor of the brave firefighter who lost his life protecting others.”
BLM said the 30-acre Schill fire started about 4:30 p.m. Tuesday in grass and brush. It was burning in steep terrain. The fire was contained at approximately 10 p.m. Tuesday. The cause of the fire is under investigation.