SALMON, ID - The head of the Salmon-Challis National Forest is saying the agency is "beyond grateful" for the dedication and service of the two helicopter pilots who died when their aircraft went down fighting the Moose Fire.
Thomas Hayes, 41, of Post Falls, Idaho, and Jared Bird, 36, were killed when their Chinook helicopter crashed while conducting "water drop" operations last Thursday.
The pair were helping to lift water from the Salmon River to the higher elevations of the Moose Fire near North Fork when the chopper went down.
Salmon-Challis National Forest Supervisor Charles Mark noted both were accomplished pilots working for ROTAK Helicopter Services and decorated veterans.
"Tragedies of this nature serve as a reminder of the honorable work and sacrifices made by men and women like Thomas and Jared," Mark said in a statement released to MTN News. "They commit themselves daily to supporting the protecting communities around the country."
"Our condolences go out to the entire Hayes and Bird families, their co-workers at ROTAK and the firefighting community, their friends and all those who knew and loved them," Mark continued.
GoFundMe fundraisers for Bird and Hayes can be found at the below links: