Updated 3:56 p.m. MDT July 22, 2022
More information is available about the helicopter crash in Idaho.
Both pilots have died, the U.S. Forest Service said on Friday.
Mary Cernicek with the Salmon-Challis National Forest said Thomas Hayes, 41, of Post Falls, Idaho, and Jared Bird, 36, of Anchorage, Alaska, died from injuries they sustained when their CH-47D Series Chinook crashed in the Salmon River about 3:30 p.m. Thursday.
The pilots were employees of the Anchorage-based ROTAK Helicopter Services and were working on the Moose Fire northwest of Salmon, Idaho.
7:52 a.m. MDT July 22, 2022
Thursday afternoon a CH-47D Chinook helicopter operated by ROTAK Helicopter Services crashed into the Salmon River while working on the Moose Fire northwest of Salmon, Idaho. The US Forest Service reported Friday morning there were two fatalities.
The company released a brief statement Thursday evening.
It is with heavy hearts that we confirm that on July 21, 2022, at approximately 3:30 p.m. a CH-47D series “Chinook” helicopter operated by ROTAK Helicopter Service with two pilots on board was involved in an accident near Salmon, Idaho. Emergency medical teams are responding to the scene. ROTAK is working closely with all appropriate agencies and will issue a full statement as information is confirmed.
We send out our sincere condolences to the families, friends, and co-workers of the two that were killed.
Growth of the fire
The Moose Fire grew incrementally on Friday, showing growth on all sides, primarily south of the Salmon River on the west and east sides. Very little growth occurred north of the river.
A mapping flight Thursday night determined it had burned 23,620 acres, an increase of nearly 3,000 acres. Much of that difference was due to an overnight change in procedure, a decision to not consider in the acreage the unburned islands in the interior. Previously the size of those islands had been subtracted from the total exterior perimeter.
The forecast for Friday afternoon is for increasing winds, gusting out of the west and then northwest at 31 mph with the relative humidity in the mid-teens. After sunset the wind will drop to about 6 mph out of the north. Saturday should bring 5 to 8 mph winds out of the south shifting to the north, with 13 percent relative humidity.
Firefighters expect the weather on Friday could lead to spread south of the Salmon River west towards Spring Creek, east towards North Fork, and spotting to the north side of the river.
Resources assigned to the fire Thursday evening included 18 hand crews, 25 fire engines, and 7 helicopters for a total of 517 personnel, a 24-hour increase of 141 individuals.
There are no reports of structures burning, but 301 are threatened. Evacuation information is available at the Lemhi County website.