Wildland Fire Aircraft Crash in Arizona Kills Retired Fire Chief

Retired Fire Chief Jeff Piechura, Courtesy:Photo; Arizona Fire and Medical

A retired fire chief was killed in a aircraft crash on Saturday while surveying a wildland fire in Mohave (AZ) County on Saturday, according to a television report broadcast by 3TV/CBS 5.

The television station reported the pilot, the only other person in the aircraft, was also killed while performing aerial reconnaissance and command and control over the Cedar Basin Fire, near Wikieup.

Jeff Piechura, the passenger in the aircraft, began his career as a firefighter when he volunteered at the age of 17 with the Northwest Fire District in Tucson, the television station reported. During his career, he worked as chief of the Stockton (CA) Fire Department before returning to Arizona where he served as assistant fire chief in Sedona and continuing to help in Tucson.

The pilot was identified as Matthew Miller, 48, according to the report.

As of late Sunday, the fire, caused by lightning, had burned more than 700 acres and had no containment, the station reported.

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