Wednesday morning a Call When Needed (CWN) helicopter crashed while fighting a wildfire in western Fresno County said the CalFire Media office. The Bell UH-1H helicopter was on a water-dropping mission on the Hills Fire, approximately 9 miles south of the City of Coalinga.  Air and ground resources responded immediately to the crash site that sparked a 50 acre fire after the helicopter came down. The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office SAR team was requested to the area of S. Lost Hills Road and Sutter Ave. in Coalinga.  The pilot was the only person aboard the helicopter and did not survive the incident.

The National Transportation Safety Board is leading the investigation and CAL FIRE is assisting. AerialFire has learned the identity of the pilot, but will not be publishing this information out of respect for the family.