Two people who were helping to fight a wildfire in western Arizona died on Saturday when their plane crashed, the Bureau of Land Management said.
The plane’s two crew members were performing aerial reconnaissance and command and control over the Cedar Basin fire, which began on Friday and has expanded over about 300 acres near Wikieup, Ariz., an unincorporated town roughly halfway between Phoenix and Las Vegas.
The Bureau of Land Management said in a statement that it would release more information about the crash after relatives of the victims had been notified. “Our hearts go out to the families of our brave wildland firefighters,” the statement read.
Plane crashes are one of the many risks faced by people who fight wildfires. In September, a pilot was killed when a plane that was dropping retardant on a fire in Idaho crashed. Early last year, three Americans died when their plane went down south of Canberra, the Australian capital, where they were helping to fight intense wildfires.
Dozens of large blazes have raged in Arizona and other western states in recent weeks. Wildfire seasons have been getting worse because of extreme weather patterns and climate change.