2 Firefighters Killed In Wildfires Amid Near-Record Western Heat Wave

By Jason Hall

July 11, 2021

California Wildfires
Photo: Getty Images

Two firefighters were killed while responding to wildfires in Arizona amid a near-record heat wave in the western part of the United States.

NBC News reports the two firefighters were killed in a plane crash while flying over the Cedar Basin Fire near the Prescott National Forest to observe the area, the Bureau of Land Management confirmed in a statement.

"Our hearts are heavy tonight with sincere condolences to families, loved ones and firefighters affected by this tragic aviation accident that occurred today in Arizona on the #CedarBasinFire," the agency tweeted.

The Arizona Bureau of Land Management confirmed an aviation accident occurred in the area at around 9:49 p.m. on Saturday (July 10).

The Arizona incident occurred amid a Bootleg Fire in southern Oregon, which doubled in size to nearly 77,000 acres in the Fremont-Winema National Forest on Saturday (July 10), causing the interruption of three electrical lines transmitting power from Oregon to California, energy officials confirmed to NBC News.

The state of California lost thousands of megawatts of imported power following the incident and struggled to maintain operating reserves as temperatures reached the 100s in numerous areas within the state.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order Saturday to free up additional energy capacity for the power grid during the heat wave and fire threat, which allows ships berthed at California ports to use auxiliary engines rather than shore power in an effort to relieve power on the electric system, NBC News reports.

The ongoing heat wave has also triggered fires throughout several western states, including California's largest current fire, the Beckwourth Complex Fire located 45 miles north of Lake Tahoe, which doubled in size between Friday and Saturday before reaching across the state border into Nevada and shows no signs of slowing down.

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