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Air Tanker Crash Claims Pilot's Life At Dog Rock Fire In Yosemite National Park

Photo courtesy National Park Service via YubaNet.com

Yosemite National Park View from Turtleback Dome showing smoke from the Dog Rock Fire Tuesday afternoon.

Photo courtesy National Park Service via YubaNet.com


National Park Service

Yosemite National Park Facebook Page


CalFire News Release

Mariposa County Sheriff

UPDATE: 10:29 P.M.

CAL FIRE officials say the pilot of Air Tanker 81 was killed when the plane crashed Tuesday afternoon while fighting the Dog Rock Fire in Yosemite Park. The pilot's name has not been released, pending notification of family.

The S-2T tanker was based out of Hollister Air Attack Base, and was one of the 23 planes of that type operated by CAL FIRE.

A CAL FIRE statement on the crash says, “This crash underscores just how inherently dangerous wildland firefighting is and the job is further compounded this year by extreme fire conditions,” said Chief Ken Pimlott, CAL FIRE director. “We have secured the crash site and will be cooperating with the NTSB on their investigation.”

The Dog Rock Fire is burning on the El Portal Road between the park boundary and Arch Rock Entrance Station. It started about 2:45 p.m. and burned 150 acres as of late Tuesday. There were 200 personnel working the fire.

UPDATE: 8:23 P.M.

Fire officials have identified the air tanker that crashed inside Yosemite National Park Tuesday afternoon as Tanker 81, with tail number N449FD. There is still no word on the status of the pilot.



UPDATE: 6:55 P.M.

Air Tankers working the Dog Rock Fire at Yosemite National Park have been grounded following the crash of an S-2T air tanker Tuesday afternoon. The condition of the pilot has not yet been determined.

Crews were hiking to the crash scene.

UPDATE 6:25 P.M.

Cal Fire confirmed an air tanker crashed while fighting a wildfire near Yosemite National Park. The condition of the pilot is unknown.


Officials say a wildfire burning in Yosemite National Park has caused the closure of Highway 140, which is the main park entrance.

Cal Fire said the fire started shortly before 3 p.m. Tuesday and is 130 acres.

Cal Fire also reported this afternoon that it "lost contact" with one of its air tankers flying over the fire area.

Yosemite National Park officials said about 60 homes in Foresta, on the west side of the Park, is under evacuation orders. 

The same community had to evacuate for several weeks in July from one of several major wildfires that has burned in the park this year.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.


-Capital Public Radio Staff