After a weekend of extreme fire danger, Californian state fire officials are assessing the hard landing of a fire-fighting airtanker. The airtanker was damaged attempting to land at the Hemet Ryan Air Attack Base after a brush fire in Riverside County, last Friday.
The Grumman S-2T airtanker (one of 23 in the Cal Fire air fleet) was returning from a small wildfire in the community of Good Hope. There were no injuries but the runway at Hemet Ryan Airport was closed temporarily while the National Transportation Safety Board investigated the incident.
"This serves as a stark reminder of the danger of our profession," said Chief Ken Pimlott, the Cal Fire Director, in a statement. "We must continue to keep public and firefighter safety a priority, especially during these Red Flag conditions."
Fire-fighters were braced for extreme fire danger through the weekend as wind gusts peaked at 70 mph in Castaic, about 40 miles north of downtown LA. The National Weather Service extended “Red Flag Warnings” for LA and Orange counties into Sunday.